A thermal-swing adsorption system for Eu(III) was developed using the thermosensitive polymer, poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAM), combined with the acidic extractants, acid phosphoxy ethyl methacrylate (Phosmer-M) or acrylic acid. The phase transition of the PNIPAM/acidic extractant copolymers was successfully achieved by changing the temperature around the lower critical solution temperature (LCST). The thermal-swing adsorption of Eu(III) was correspondingly achieved by changing the temperature of the aqueous solution. The adsorption ability of Eu(III) was increased when the temperature became higher than the LCST, due to the change in the hydrophobicity as well as in the volume of the copolymer. The difference in the adsorption at lower and higher temperatures against the LCST was increased with decreasing crosslinking agent during the preparation of the copolymer. The copolymer possessed sufficient loading and release capacity for Eu(III) even in repeated processes of the thermal-swing adsorption.
2014 Japan Association of Solvent Extraction