Date of Award

Fall 2010

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Hossenlopp, Jeanne M.

Second Advisor

Reid, Scott A.

Third Advisor

Tran, Chieu D.


Sorption processes involve physical and chemical interactions of sorbents with analytes. These may involve the physical and/or chemical processes in which a substance is accumulated at an interface between two phases, or the intermixing of a substance with the matrix of a second phase. The two processes are referred to as adsorption and absorption respectively. The sorption capacities of different classes of sorbents have many potential and demonstrated applications such as sensor development, water treatment, environmental remediation and chromatographic separations. The goal of this work is to explore the sorption capacity of polymers as well as nanodimensional layered materials for use in developing chemical sensors and materials that can be used for removing pollutants from aqueous solution. Chapter 1 gives a general introduction of polymeric and layered nanodimensional sorbents as well as providing a literature review of the applications of the two types of sorbents utilized in this study. Emphasis is put on the use of polymers to develop coatings for quartz crystal microbalances as well as layered zirconium phosphate for developing sorbents for organic pollutant removal. In Chapter 2, a brief summary of the analytical techniques used in this study, as well as preparation methods for the sorbents, is presented. Chapter 3 presents an investigation of the potential use of polyepichlorohydrin (PECH), polyisobutylene (PIB) and polycaprolactone (PCL) as sorbents for adsorbing quercetin to develop coatings for detecting quercetin using a quartz crystal microbalance sensor (QCM). BisphenolA-hexamethyltrisiloxane (BPA-HMTS) was synthesized and found to increase the sensitivity of QCM sensor for quercetin compared to the other polymers. The sensitivity of the different polymers is evaluated using diffusion coefficients as well as sensor response times The modification of layered zirconium phosphate using a tertiary amine in order to make the layered material hydrophobic is presented in Chapter 4. A detailed analytical and spectroscopic characterization of the compound is presented. Chapter 5 presents the application of organically modified layered zirconium phosphate as a sorbent for 4-chlorophenol. The efficacy of the sorbent is evaluated using adsorption isotherms and sorption kinetics models. The proposed future studies are described in Chapter 6.

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