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Fabrication of detonation nanodiamond@sodium alginate hydrogel beads and their performance in sunlight-triggered water release

Zheng, Dan, Bai, Bo, Xu, Xiaohui, He, Yunhua, Li, Shan, Hu, Na, Wang, Honglun
RSC advances 2019 v.9 no.48 pp. 27961-27972
Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, adsorption, gelation, heat, hydrogels, kinetics, nanodiamonds, pH, reflectance spectroscopy, sodium alginate, solar energy, solar radiation, temperature, water shortages, water use efficiency
Agricultural water use accounts for around 70% of total water use in the world. Enhancing agricultural water use efficiency is a key way to cope with water shortage. Here, sunlight-responsive hydrogel beads consisting of sodium alginate (SA) matrix and detonation nanodiamond (DND) were fabricated by an ion gelation technique, which has potential applications in controlled water release. The interaction between the DND and SA matrix was investigated by Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectra and X-ray diffraction (XRD). UV-vis diffuse reflectance spectra verified DND can absorb solar energy in the UV, visible and even near-infrared regions. DND dispersed in the hydrogel matrix can absorb sunlight and generate heat, increasing the temperature of the matrix and resulting in slow release of water from the elastic beads. In addition, the effects of DND content and pH were systematically studied to evaluate their water adsorption properties. The swelling kinetics of DND@SA hydrogel beads in distilled water could be fitted well with a pseudo-second-order kinetic model. Six consecutive cycles of water release–reswelling indicated that their easy regeneration and reusability. The novel and eco-friendly hydrogel beads should be applicable to on-demand, sequential, and long-term release of water via light exposure.