Two novel methacrylate-phosphonate copolymers were successfully synthesised with varying proportions of methacrylate and phosphonate groups. The dispersant ability of the copolymers was investigated using boehmite colloidal suspensions as a function of pH and polymer concentration. The adsorption and electrochemical behaviour of these methacrylate-phosphonate copolymers onto the boehmite surface was studied as a function of polymer concentration at pH values below and above the IEP of boehmite.It was found that the anionic copolymers adsorbed slightly more on boehmite at pH values below the boehmite IEP (pH. 9.4) than above the IEP due to electrostatic attraction with the positively charged aluminate hydroxide groups at the boehmite surface. As a result, boehmite becomes more negatively charged, increasing electrostatic repulsion between boehmite particles and therefore the stability of the boehmite particulate suspension, especially at alkaline pH values around the IEP. It was also found that, for a boehmite surface partially covered by adsorbed copolymer, heterogeneous electrical double layer interaction could occur between a positively charged bare boehmite patch (pH. <. IEP) and the polymer covered patch, resulting in increased electrical attraction between particles. The increased electrical attraction causes the suspension to be less stable when compared to that either in the absence of polymer or at full polymer surface coverage. Very little differences between the two copolymers were observed in their boehmite adsorption or in their particle dispersion ability which is likely to be due to the low proportion of phosphonate groups that were able to be incorporated in these polymers.
- Methacrylate-phosphonate copolymers
- Particles electrokinetics
- Polymer adsorption