Zhang, Huichun; Suri, Rominder P. S.; Neretina, Svetlana; Shuai, Danmeng; Ren, Shenqiang (Temple University. Libraries, 2016)
      Discharge of many organic contaminants (OCs) to the environment from industries such as pharmaceuticals, pesticides, dyestuffs, and chemical intermediates is one of the major concerns to human health and the ecosystem due to their high toxicity. Existing water and wastewater treatment techniques were not specifically designed to remove OCs, and the elimination rate can vary from negligible to over 90%. Therefore, development of treatment technologies to efficiently remove OCs from water and wastewater effluents is required. Polymeric resins are an alternative for treatment since they can selectively target certain OCs as they can be custom-synthesized during polymerization by including desired functional groups to the matrix. However, additional efforts and cost are needed for the regeneration of the exhausted resins and recycling of the sorbed contaminants. Palladium based catalysts supported on polymeric resins are a promising method to overcome regeneration problems and convert contaminants to less toxic chemicals. The main goals of this research were to (1) develop predictive models for the sorption of cationic OCs by resins based on a mechanistic understanding of the sorption mechanisms of a range of cationic OCs on two cation exchange resins and (2) synthesize novel resin-based Pd catalysts to selectively remove two toxic contaminants, i.e., 4-chlorophenol and 4-nitrophenol, convert them to less toxic chemicals, and evaluate the possibility of in situ regeneration of the spent resins. The sorption study indicated that electrostatic (ion exchange) and nonelectrostatic (adsorption) interactions between nonpolar moieties of solute and sorbent have synergistic effects on sorption. It also established predictive models for estimating the sorbed concentrations of a target contaminant on a given resin at any environmentally relevant pH. Our findings point to the significant role of adsorption in the overall catalytic reactivity. The rate determining step (RDS) switched from adsorption to surface reaction with increasing concentration of the reactant. This observation was confirmed by good fitting of the reaction kinetics to the Langmuir-Hinshelwood model developed based on the respective RDS. Our results demonstrated that Pd-resin composites are advantageous to water treatment because they can avoid the conventional resin regeneration process and enable recycling of reaction products of smaller environmental impacts.