Polyacrylamide, also called PAM for short, is a polymer composed of acrylamide monomers that are attached to each other at the end. This compound, which is a type of polyelectrolyte, is produced in two types, anionic and cationic. This polymer has many uses in a wide range of industrial processes, but one of the most important uses of polyacrylamide is for coagulation or flocculation of solids in liquid in municipal and industrial wastewater.
What are the Uses of Polyacrylamide?
As we have said, polyacrylamide has many uses in various industries, the following of which we will explain the most common.
Wastewater and Water Treatment:
The presence of colloidal particles such as fats and oils and other low molecular weight suspended solids is one of the biggest challenges in water and wastewater treatment. Various methods have been introduced to remove these materials, including the use of coagulants and flocculants. Negatively charged sand particles and positively charged organic matter easily react with polyacrylamide to cause them to clot. In addition to removing contaminants in water and sewage with this method, the use of polyacrylamide is very effective in improving the color and clarification of water.
In fact, PAM, as a cationic polymer, is able to increase the rate of bacterial deposition and help improve the uptake of bacterial cells, suspended solids, and cell components. Cationic polymers are widely used to kill and purify harmful organisms from water.
In the paper industry, polyacrylamide plays an important role as a binder and retainer of fibers and the retention of pigments on paper fibers. In the UK, approximately 12,000 tonnes of this polymer are used annually in the paper industry.
This polymer is used in agriculture to increase aeration and reduce soil density, improve irrigation and deep rooting, and increase the strength and appearance of crops. It also helps the agricultural sector by reducing water requirements, reducing soil erosion and plant maintenance costs.
Lotions and some cosmetics require a stabilizing and binding agent, which is why polyacrylamide is used in this industry. The only thing that matters is the concentration of the substance in question. In some countries, a certain amount of use of this substance in the cosmetics industry has been determined.
Polyacrylamide can be used in the extraction, processing, and disposal of minerals such as coal, gold, silver, copper, iron, lead and zinc, aluminum, uranium, nickel, phosphorus, potassium, manganese, and other minerals. Its main purpose is to improve the efficiency of solid-liquid separation and the recovery rate.
The gel of this material is based on free radical polymerization of acrylamide and cross-linking of methylene bis-acrylamide (N, N′-methylene-bisacrylamide). It is physically very stable and is used specifically for the electrophoretic separation of small or medium-sized proteins.
Other Uses of Polyacrylamide:
- Coagulation of suspended solids and colloids in sugar processes, and concentration of liquids
- Separation of solids and organic compounds in the return water of refrigeration and heating systems
- Separation of solids, oils, greases, and insoluble oxides in return water treatment in the steel industry
- Removal of paints, suspended solids, and colloids in the petrochemical industry
Therefore, a very large volume of this widely used high purity compound is used for industrial purposes. This high consumption of polyacrylamide will show well that the demand for this widely used compound is very high.