Sulfated cellulose preparation, characterization, and potential applications in water treatment

  • Maitha Alkaabi

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Cellulose is a renewable and biodegradable, which can be found in abundance on our planet. It can be obtained from various resources such as urban waste and biomass. Cellulose is the major constituent of paper products such as paperboard and card stock as well as textiles made from cotton, linen, and other plant fibers. The purpose of this thesis is to prepare and characterize sulfated cellulose and to explore the potential use of the new material as a softening unit in water treatments. Cellulose was processed to prepare sulfated cellulose (SC). SC material was prepared by sulfuric acid dissolution of cellulose followed by regeneration in water. Elemental analysis data showed that the SC structure had a sulfur group with a degree of substitution of 0.2. X-ray diffraction analysis showed that the SC resulting material had mainly an amorphous phase with a crystalline portion characteristic of cellulose II. The temperature and acid concentration not only affected the chemical structure of the material but also affected the molecular weight and the chain length. The average molecular weight of SC was found to be 3665g /mol. The resulting SC material was categorized into two types: Water-soluble material and water insoluble material. Elemental analysis showed that the water-soluble material had a higher percentage of sulfur by mass than water-insoluble material. The water-soluble material was less soluble in ethanol than in water. The highest yields of the water-soluble material and water-insoluble material were 20% and 19% respectively. The water-soluble portion was freeze-dried and its interaction with aqueous solutions of magnesium and sodium chloride was tested. Preliminary results showed that the SC material could remove both magnesium and sodium with the same percentage (97%) from a diluted aqueous solution. Further work is needed to study the SC material ion holding capacity, mechanism of interaction with cations in salty water and softening process feasibility.
Date of Award2012
Original languageAmerican English
SupervisorRaed Hashaikeh (Supervisor)


  • Cellulose
  • Water treatment plant residuals
  • Drying
  • Purification.

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