Radiation-Induced Graft Immobilization (RIGI): Covalent Binding of Non-Vinyl Compounds on Polymer Membranes


Radiation-induced graft immobilization (RIGI) is a novel method for the covalent binding of substances on polymeric materials without the use of additional chemicals. In contrast to the well-known radiation-induced graft polymerization (RIGP), RIGI can use non-vinyl compounds such as small and large functional molecules, hydrophilic polymers, or even enzymes. In a one-step electron-beam-based process, immobilization can be performed in a clean, fast, and continuous operation mode, as required for industrial applications. This study proposes a reaction mechanism using polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) and two small model molecules, glycine and taurine, in aqueous solution. Covalent coupling of single molecules is achieved by radical recombination and alkene addition reactions, with water radiolysis playing a crucial role in the formation of reactive solute species. Hydroxyl radicals contribute mainly to the immobilization, while solvated electrons and hydrogen radicals play a minor role. Release of fluoride is mainly induced by direct ionization of the polymer and supported by water. Hydrophobic chains attached to cations appear to enhance the covalent attachment of solutes to the polymer surface. Computational work is complemented by experimental studies, including X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and fluoride high-performance ion chromatography (HPIC).

Funding source: Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU) (20018/547).
Countries: Germany

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