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Branched Polymeric Media: Perchlorate-Selective Resins from Hyperbranched Polyethyleneimine

Chen, Dennis P., Yu, Changjun, Chang, Ching-Yu, Wan, Yanjian, Frechet, Jean M. J., Goddard, William A., Diallo, Mamadou S.
Environmental Science & Technology 2012 v.46 no.19 pp. 10718-10726
alkylation, ammonium chloride, crosslinking, detection limit, drinking, groundwater, ion exchange, ions, perchlorates, polymerization, resins, styrene, water pollution, United States
Perchlorate (ClO₄–) is a persistent contaminant found in drinking groundwater sources in the United States. Ion exchange (IX) with selective and disposable resins based on cross-linked styrene divinylbenzene (STY-DVB) beads is currently the most commonly utilized process for removing low concentrations of ClO₄– (10–100 ppb) from contaminated drinking water sources. However, due to the low exchange capacity of perchlorate-selective STY-DVB resins (∼0.5–0.8 eq/L), the overall cost becomes prohibitive when treating groundwater with higher concentration of ClO₄– (e.g., 100–1000 ppb). In this article, we describe a new perchlorate-selective resin with high exchange capacity. This new resin was prepared by alkylation of branched polyethyleneimine (PEI) beads obtained from an inverse suspension polymerization process. Batch and column studies show that our new PEI resin with mixed hexyl/ethyl quaternary ammonium chloride exchange sites can selectively extract trace amounts of ClO₄– from a makeup groundwater (to below detection limit) in the presence of competing ions. In addition, this resin has a strong-base exchange capacity of 1.4 eq/L, which is 1.75–2.33 times larger than those of commercial perchlorate-selective STY-DVB resins. The overall results of our studies suggest that branched PEI beads provide versatile and promising building blocks for the preparation of perchlorate-selective resins with high exchange capacity.