Reusable Polymer Can Remove Dyes From WastewaterIn the study, published in ACS Applied Polymer Materials, researchers made a synthetic polymer c...

Reusable Polymer Can Remove Dyes From WastewaterIn the study, published in ACS Applied Polymer Materials, researchers made a synthetic polymer c...Reusable Polymer Can Remove Dyes From Wastewater
In the study, published in ACS Applied Polymer Materials, researchers made a synthetic polymer called polycarbodiimide. The researchers then tested the material’s ability to clean wastewater first by dissolving it in a solvent, and then mixing it with water contaminated with dyes. They tested the polymer solution against a series of 20 anionic dyes, also called acid dyes, which are used in the textile industry. For initial assessments, the researchers did a visual test with the naked eye to see if the polymer worked. The researchers later quantified how well the polymer removed the colorant using UV-Vis spectroscopy.

“We mixed the polymer solution and dye-contaminated water so the polymer in the solution can grab on to the dye. This is a two-phase solution, just like oil and water. The polymer part of the solution grabs onto the dyes,” Budhathoki-Uprety said. “Then we were able to easily separate the clean water from the contaminated solution mixture by draining it out, similar to separation of water from a mixture of oil and water.”

The polymer solution removed all but four of the 20 acid dyes they tested. In addition, they found it was easy to recover the polymer within minutes. They found characteristics of the dyes – related to their molecular structures – that contributed to whether the polymer worked or not.