Graduation Year

2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.S.

Degree Granting Department

Chemistry

Major Professor

Xiao Li

Co-Major Professor

Dean F. Martin

Keywords

BPA, Chromatography, Environment, Estrogenic Activity, Phenols, Polycarbonates

Abstract

Bisphenol A used in the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins is ubiquitous in the environment. The raw material is released to the environment during the manufacturing process and by leaching from consumer products. Recent studies are suggesting that low-dose amounts of Bisphenol A may have adverse health effects on humans. The possibility of removing Bisphenol A from natural water sources or from solvents used to extract the material from consumer products before they enter the market has been studied. The use of model compounds and related substances (4-isopropylphenol, 4-(t-butyl) phenol, and nitrophenols) have been used to study their removal from aqueous solutions using column chromatography and Octolig®, a commercially available material with polyethylenediamine moieties covalently bonded to high-surface area silica gel. The experimental results suggest that 2-nitrophenol and 4-nitrophenol can be successfully removed while 3-nitrophenol, 4-isopropylphenol, and 4-(t-butyl) phenol did not yield a high percent removal. A look at the pKa of the compounds provides an interesting explanation of the results. It is suggested that the compounds with a pKa of approximately 8.3 or higher would require the solution to be at a high pH for anion formation. The resulting pH of the solution would simultaneously deprotonate the ethylenediamine moieties of Octolig® rendering it incapable of removing the anions by ionic interaction.

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