Application of Biochemical Polymers in Sorption of Crude Oils.
Abstract: The properties of plant based polymers were observed and compared to the properties of polyacrylamide, a synthetic polymer, by means of experimentation. When polyacrylamide degrades in the environment it turns into acrylamide, a substance linked to birth defects, cancer in animals, and nerve damage. The purpose of these experiments was to discover the maximum crude oil removal of several biopolymers and compare the result with polyacrylamide to estimate the practical application of biopolymers removing crude oil from ocean surface water. Crude oil was injected into several different containers of water and each treated with a different polymer (polyacrylamide, fenugreek, or psyllium) or used as a control group then the percent oil removal was calculated. The biopolymers, fenugreek and psyllium, were able to surpass the crude oil sorption of polyacrylamide but the maximum efficiency of each polymer was not discovered in the experiments conducted. Psyllium has the highest percent oil removal of the biopolymers observed in previous experiments, rationalizing the inclusion of more polymers with similar functionality will be explored. Further experimentation utilizing mixtures of polymers may increase percent absorption.
Dr. Rajani Srinivasan and Micheal Meadows*
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