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Journal of Applied Chemistry
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 4137398, 8 pages
Research Article

Preparation and Characterization of Polymer-Grafted Montmorillonite-Lignocellulose Nanocomposites by In Situ Intercalative Polymerization

1Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry, University of Fort Hare, Alice Campus, Private Bag X1314, Alice 5700, South Africa
2Nanotechnology and Water Sustainability Research Unit, College of Engineering, Science and Technology, University of South Africa, Johannesburg BE277, South Africa

Received 13 April 2016; Revised 9 July 2016; Accepted 11 July 2016

Academic Editor: Mariatti bt Jaafar

Copyright © 2016 Tavengwa Bunhu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Lignocellulose-clay nanocomposites were synthesized using an in situ intercalative polymerization method at 60°C and a pressure of 1 atm. The ratio of the montmorillonite clay to the lignocellulose ranged from 1 : 9 to 1 : 1 (MMT clay to lignocelluloses, wt%). The adsorbent materials were characterized by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and X-ray powder diffraction (XRD). FTIR results showed that the polymers were covalently attached to the nanoclay and the lignocellulose in the nanocomposites. Both TEM and XRD analysis showed that the morphology of the materials ranged from phase-separated to intercalated nanocomposite adsorbents. Improved thermal stability, attributable to the presence of nanoclay, was observed for all the nanocomposites. The nanocomposite materials prepared can potentially be used as adsorbents for the removal of pollutants in water treatment and purification.