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College of Engineering and Technology

Chemical Engineering Department


Sodium polyacrylate is a chemical polymer that is widely used in a variety of

consumer products for its ability to absorb multiple times its mass in water. These
polymers are commonly made by polymerization of petroleum based acrylic acid blended
with sodium hydroxide to produce a poly acrylic acid sodium salt referred to as sodium
polyacrylate. The continuous depletion of petroleum has led to the conversion of
renewable sources such as cassava peels for the production of sodium polyacrylate.

Cassava peels contains 46.60 % cellulose when undergo pretreatment and

alkalization can produce cellulose. Cassava peels were washed and dried at 110 oC for
60 minutes and were grinded to pass 8 mesh. The pretreated cassava peels underwent
alkalization process. The type of alkali, alkali solution concentration, ratio of cassava
peels to alkali solution, temperature and time were the variables that has strong influence
of extraction of cellulose from cassava peels. This cellulose were converted using various
chemical reactions such as acid hydrolysis using 2 M sulfuric acid at 120oC for 90 minutes
which converts cellulose to levulinic acid; oxidation of levulinic acid to 3-hydroxypropanoic
acid under basic condition then the intermediate is extracted using petroleum ether;
dehydration of 3-HPA to acrylic acid using titanium dioxide (TiO2) as catalyst;
polymerization of acrylic acid to polyacrylic acid using 30% hydrogen peroxide as catalyst
and lastly is neutralizing poly acrylic acid with caustic solution to produce sodium

The produced sodium polyacrylate has a bulk density of 1.23 g/cm 3 and pH of 7.05
and white powder in color. The polymer produced is subjected into standard testing of
water absorbency and it can absorb 25 fold of its original mass, which conforms to the
available and existing standards in the market.

Polymerization and Neutralization of Acrylic Acid derived from Cassava

Abstract 1
(Mannihot esculenta) Peels for the Production of Sodium Polyacrylate