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Grafting of Methyl Methacrylate onto Starch Initiated by Ceric Ion as an Initiator in Presence of Nitric Acid as Activator

Abdurahman Abuabdalla Khalifa


Natural polymers with improved structure have been securing increasing value in the industry as they
are abundant, cheap, and biodegradable. Graft copolymerization is one of the effective ways to
enhance the properties of natural polymers. Starch based graft copolymers are becoming increasingly
important due to their remarkable adhesion, high water absorbency, and biodegradability. Methyl
methacrylate (MMA) grafted onto starch by using the ceric ammonium nitrate (CAN) as a redox
initiator in the presence of nitric acid in aqueous medium to form grafted copolymer (Starch-g-
PMMA) was investigated. The grafting reaction was carried out under stream of nitrogen gas. The
impact of different reaction parameters to achieve the highest percent grafting (%G) has been studied
by determining the initiator concentration, monomer concentration, time (hours), nitric acid
concentration, and polymerization temperature. The % G was found to be 97%. Evidence of grafting
was characterized and confirmed by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). The peaks at
1736.70 cm-1 and 3449.78 cm-1 indicates that MMA has been successfully grafted to starch. %G was
found to be decreased at higher than 70°C, after 2 hours of reaction time, with an increase of MMA
monomer concentration, initiator concentration, and with HNO3 concentration. The highest percent
grafting was obtained at the parameters of 1 g starch, 70°C, 2 hours, 2 mmol CAN, 140 mmol MMA
and 0.4 mmol HNO3.


Ceric ammonium nitrate, FTIR, grafting, methyl methacrylate, starch

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