Zwitterionic betaine polymers are promising adsorbents for the removal of heavy metal ions from industrial effluents. Although the presence of both negative and positively charged groups imparts them the ability to simultaneously remove cations and anions, intra-and/or inter-chain interactions can significantly reduce their adsorption efficiencies. Therefore, in this study, novel gels based on crosslinked co-polymers of thermosensitive N-isopropylacrylamide (NIPAAM) and zwitterionic sulfobetaine N,N-dimethylacrylamido propyl ammonium propane sulfonate (DMAAPS) were synthesized, characterized, and evaluated for ion removal. Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) and proton nuclear magnetic resonance (1 H NMR) analyses confirmed the success of the co-polymerization of NIPAAM and DMAAPS to form poly(NIPAAM-co-DMAAPS). The phase transition temperature of the co-polymer increased with increasing DMAAPS content in the co-polymer, indicating temperature-dependent amphiphilic behavior, as evidenced by contact angle measurements. The ion adsorption analyses of the poly(NIPAAM-co-DMAAPS) gels indicated that co-polymerization increased the molecular distance and weakened the interaction between the DMAAPS-charged groups (SO3 and N+), thereby increasing the ion adsorption. The results confirmed that, with a low concentration of DMAAPS in the co-polymer gels (~10%), the maximum amount of Cr3+ ions adsorbed onto the gel was ~58.49% of the sulfonate content in the gel.

Original languageEnglish
Article number273
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Adsorption
  • Heavy metals
  • Zwitterion


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