Polymers that Entrap and Catalytically Decontaminate Toxics Open Access

Rawan, Alshehri (Spring 2021)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/4f16c394r?locale=en


Our research targets an important concept in materials science and protection chemistry: to develop a matrix that entraps undesirable or dangerous molecules, then catalytically decontaminates the entrapped compound(s) using the ambient environment – the O2 in air at room temperature. Mustard is a highly toxic chemical warfare agent that our group has focused on decontaminating. Recently our group and our collaborators demonstrated that an appropriate mixture of tribromide and nitrogen oxide species, “Brx/NOx”, selectively oxidizes mustard and its simulant, 2-chloroethyl ethyl sulfide (CEES) using air (O2). To safely study these air-based oxidations in our laboratory, we used CEES (CEES and mustard have similar structures and properties). One of the fundamental steps in the decontamination of CEES is to find a polymer that has a high affinity for and can entrap high quantities of this sulfide. Swellable hyper-cross-linked polymers (HCP) have been tested for their ability to entrap CEES. We have successfully entrapped CEES in a fluorobenzene-based HCP, HCP-F, and previous co-workers have incorporated the Brx/NOx catalytic system into it. Because HCP-F has shown a high affinity to CEES, it is assumed that some of the CEES could be trapped in the pores during CEES oxidation experiments. Therefore, modifications to the CEES oxidation procedure have been explored to account for the lower CEES concentrations. More recently, Brx/NOx has been incorporated into HCP-SO3 (another HCP with a different and strongly acidic functional group), and CEES oxidation experiments have been performed. Both systems selectively produce the most desirable (least toxic) oxidation product, the corresponding sulfoxide, CEESO. The gelation ability of HCP-F and HCP-SO3 was assessed using common laboratory solvents by measuring the extent of their swellability. 

Table of Contents


Introduction. 1

Figure 1. 1

experimental (materials and methods). 3

HCP-F synthesis. 3

Figure 2. 3

HCP-SO3 synthesis. 3

Figure 3. 4

Preparation of Brx/NOx catalyst. 4

HCP swelling (gelation) studies 5

Figure 4. 6

Swelling HCP-F containing the Catalyst. 6

CEES Oxidation in HCP-F. 6

CEES Oxidation in HCP-SO3 7

Figure 5. 8

Results. 8

Figure 6. 9

Figure 7. 9

Figure 8. 10

Figure 9. 11

Figure 10. 11

discussion. 11

conclusion. 13

references. 15

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