Reviews in Chemical Engineering, Vol.31, No.3, 239-261, 2015
A survey on cationic polyelectrolytes and their applications: acrylamide derivatives
Cationic polyelectrolytes are water-soluble polymers bearing positive ionic groups along the backbone or in side chains. These cationic polymers are synthesized by free radical polymerization of acrylamide and their derivatives by the copolymerization method, which includes solution, precipitation, and emulsion techniques. The Mannich reaction is another important method by which the cationic polymers can be processed. In this review paper, the preparation methods, interaction mechanisms of these polymers, and their popular industrial applications are summarized. These polymers open a lot of applications in different fields such as paper-making processes, water and wastewater treatment, oil and drilling industries, mineral separation, paint and food industries, cosmetics, and pharmacy. In addition, these polymers are widely used as flocculants and rheology control agents. These polymers are especially employed in oil field operations as viscosity control agents for enhanced oil recovery, drilling fluid additives, and also for modifying flow and stability properties of aqueous solutions and gels. They are used as super-plasticizers, which affect the rheological properties of dense cement suspensions. Mining processes also benefit from the use of acrylamide derivative polymers to flocculate solids in aqueous dispersions. The cationic polymers may interact with different components in the system such as inorganic/organic particles in aqueous dispersions in several ways, which may result in the stability or instability of dispersion. The particles can be destabilized through three different main mechanisms which promote flocculation: polymer bridging, charge neutralization, and polymer adsorption.