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Research Project: Developing Technologies that Enable Growth and Profitability in the Commercial Conversion of Sugarcane, Sweet Sorghum, and Energy Beets into Sugar, Advanced Biofuels, and Bioproducts

Location: Commodity Utilization Research

Title: Lipophilic super-absorbent polymer gels as surface cleaners for oil and grease

item MYERS, CHRISTOPHER - Us Army Research
item BODDU, VEERA - Us Army Research
item Uchimiya, Sophie

Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/1/2011
Publication Date: 10/18/2011
Citation: Myers, C., Boddu, V.M., Uchimiya, M. 2011. Lipophilic super-absorbent polymer gels as surface cleaners for oil and grease. In: Proceedings of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) meeting, October 16-21, 2011, Minneapolis, Minnesota. pp. 1-7.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Increasingly stringent environmental regulations on volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) demand the development of disruptive technologies for cleaning weapons systems and platforms. Currently employed techniques such as vapor degreasing, solvent, aqueous, or blast cleaning processes suffer from shortcomings in environmental friendliness, personnel health and safety, cleaning efficiency, cost-effectiveness, management of contaminated cleaning media, or in maintaining the integrity of equipment material surfaces. Lipophilic super-absorbent swelling gels have been developed that will not only absorb the oil and grease from these machine parts, but will also act as an automated sweeper due to the self-generating mechanical force of the gel. An octadecylacrylate-co-ethylene glycol dimethacrylate (ODA-co-EGDMA) lipophilic gel (G-1) and commercially available Alkylstyrene Copolymer (imbiber beads) were evaluated for swelling and oil sorption capacity. Along with the imbiber beads and G-1 gel, poly stearylacrylate-co-ethyleneglycol dimethacrylate neutral gel (NG-18), another lipophilic super-absorbent gel, was synthesized and tested. For each gel, the swelling degree and the oil absorption capacity were quantitatively investigated at 0-60°C using a variety of polar and nonpolar solvents. The mechanical strength of each gel was studied by measuring compression strength, and cross-linking of the polymers was studied using infrared spectroscopy. The cleaning tests were performed using metal coupons. Details of gel preparation and evaluation of oil sorption capacity will be presented.