A novel superabsorbent composite (SAC) based on bentonite, acrylamide and acrylic acid was synthesized. The effects of bentonite quantity, initiator content on the grafting degree and on the water absorbency for the samples were studied. Synthesis mechanism, morphology and thermal properties of the SAC were characterized. FTIR results confirmed the presence of acrylamide/ acrylic acid onto bentonite backbone while TGA showed that introduction of 70 % bentonite to polymer increases thermal stability. The SAC was also tested in the removal of heavy metal in aqueous solution where kinetics analyses were performed using Langmuir adsorption isotherm. The optimum adsorption capability of heavy metal ions onto bentonite-based SAC from solution was 92, 48 and 91 % for Pb++, Ni++, and Cu++ respectively. The unique characteristics of these SAC such as its slow-release and water-retention capability, nontoxicity in soil, environmentally friendly and high capacity for the removal of heavy metals might be very valuable in agriculture and environmental studies

Shaheen Wali, Manzoor Iqbal Khattak and Mahmood Iqbal Khattak