Honors Theses

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Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis - NSU Access Only


Halmos College of Arts and Sciences and the Guy Harvey Oceanographic Research Center

Honors College

Farquhar Honors College Thesis

Honors College Dean

Andrea Nevins, Ph.D.

Home College Dean

Holly Lynn Baumgartner, Ph.D.

Faculty Advisor

Patricia Calvo, Ph.D.

Faculty Advisor

Karen Grosby, Ed.D.


Heavy metal contamination in drinking water is known to cause damage to multiple organs and is one of the major causes of cancer as well as other life-threatening conditions. Metal-binding polymers can be utilized to bind toxic metals and remove them from solutions through filtration. The purpose of this study is to synthesize various chelating polymers with different functional groups and different polymer architectures to determine their efficiency at extracting heavy metals from contaminated water. Additionally, a protocol to extract these metals from solution was also developed. When developing a protocol to extract metals, lead, cadmium, and zinc will be used along with chitosan, a commercially available polymer. The polymer poly pentafluorophenyl acrylate (PPFPA) was synthesized using the reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) polymerization technique. To verify the polymerization, H-NMR and FNMR were used. This polymer was able to be functionalized with various nucleophiles in order to install chelating groups onto the polymer. This allows for the binding of various metals to the polymer. IR Spectroscopy, F-NMR, and H-NMR were performed to ensure successful polymerization of PPFPA. The goal of the project is to gain a better understanding of metal binding polymers in terms of structure property relationships and to develop a working protocol to evaluate polymer metal binding by AA. Therefore, upon completion of this project, we hope that this work will add to provide fundamental understanding of polymer metal chelation which can ultimately aid in the design and development of new commercial applications.

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