Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Application and determination of organic polymers

  • 169 Accesses


In water and waste treatment, cationic polyelectrolytes can function as either primary coagulant or coagulant aid because they are positively charged. It has been known that most of the colloidal and suspended impurities in natural water have negative surface charges. Cationic polyelectrolyte will neutralize the impurities or pollutants, then agglomerate them into larger masses for rapid solid-water separation by sedimentation, flotation, centrifugation, filtration, or reverse osmosis. Anionic polyelectrolyte are negatively charged and function as coagulants in water and waste treatment. They must be applied along with positively charged coagulants which neutralizes the negative charge on the colloidal and suspended impurities. In a water softening process, where precipitation particles are positively charged, however, anionic polyelectrolytes alone can coagulate. Nonionic organic polymers, however, can only function as coagulant aids which should be introduced at a point shortly after flocculation first occurs. Nonionic polymers will coat the existing floc particles so that when the flocs collide, they will adhere to one another, thus forming larger and heavier masses.

This paper initially describes the various applications of organic polymers in the fields of environmental, chemical and biomedical engineering. Subsequently a new technique for the accurate, quantitative determination of polyelectrolytes in the 0.00002 N to 0.005 N concentration range is introduced. The principles, apparatus, reagents, and analytical procedures of the method are presented in detail. The test procedure developed can also measure the net charges of colloidal substances, this can be used for chemical coagulation process control.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. [1]

    Adin, A. and Rebhun, M.: 1976, J. American Water Works Assoc. 66, 103.

  2. [2]

    Amore, J. M., Enos, J. F., and LaConti, A. B.: 1972, Research of Reverse Osmosis Membranes for Purification of Wash Water at Sterilization, General Electric Co., Lynn, Mass., NTIS Report No. PB-222 950, 71 pp.

  3. [3]

    Anon., Technical Information — Polybrene, Product No. 10768-9, Aldrich Chemical Company, Inc., Milwaukee, Wisconsin, March, 1973.

  4. [4]

    Barkley, W. A.: 1971, Evaluation of Parameters Affecting the Colloidal Destabilization of Spent Vegetable Tannin Liquor, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Virginia, Ph.D. Thesis.

  5. [5]

    Bennet, M. C.: 1972, U.S. Patent 3698951, October 17.

  6. [6]

    Bhattacharyya, D., Garrison, K. A., and Grieves, R. B.: 1977, ‘Membrane Ultrafiltration for Treatment and Reuse of TNT — Manufacturing Wastes’, J. WaterPollut. Control Fed. 45, 800.

  7. [7]

    Buhl, F. C., Lees, R. D., and Monagle, D. J.: 1969, U.S. Patent 3479221, November 18.

  8. [8]

    Burns, D. E., Bauman, E. R., and Oulman, C. S.: 1970, J. American Water Works Assoc. 62, 121.

  9. [9]

    Clem, A. G.: 1976, U.S. Patent 3949560, April 13.

  10. [10]

    Daniels, S. L.: 1973, Removal of Heavy Metals by Iron Salts and Polyelectrolyte Flocculants, Technical Report presented at the 75th National Meeting of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, Detroit, Michigan.

  11. [11]

    Dixon, J. K. and Tilton, R. C.: 1972, Water Quality Control with Synthetic Polymeric Flocculants: Effect of Metal Ions on Flocculation of Biocolloids, NTIS Report No. PB-212364.

  12. [12]

    Doss, R. C. and Cleary, J. W.: 1974, U.S. Patent 3806450, April 23.

  13. [13]

    Felicetta, V. F. and Peacock, R. O.: 1971, U.S. Patent 3622510, November 23.

  14. [14]

    Fields, J. E. and Johnson, J. H.: 1972, U.S. Patent 3655509, April 11.

  15. [15]

    Flock, H. G. and Rausch, E. G.: 1972, U.S. Patent No. 3655552, April 11.

  16. [16]

    Gutcho, S.: 1977, Waste Treatment with Polyelectrolytes and Other Flocculants, Noyes Data Corporation, Park Ridge, N.J., 274 pp.

  17. [17]

    Habibian, M. T. and O'Melia, C. R.: 1975, ‘Particles, Polymers and Performance in Filtration’, J. Environ. Eng. Div., ASCE, p. 567.

  18. [18]

    Harrison, J. R., Lees, R. D., and Mongale, D. J.: 1970, U.S. Patent 3508965, April 28.

  19. [19]

    Hatch, A. E.: 1975, U.S. Patent 3859210, January.

  20. [20]

    Hoke, D. I.: 1973, U.S. Patent 3761407, September 25.

  21. [21]

    Huffman, C. J.: 1974, U.S. Patent 3798160, March 19.

  22. [22]

    Hull, J. D. and Finch, R. E.: 1972, U.S. Patent 3637031, January 25.

  23. [23]

    Johnson, C. E.: 1956, ‘Polyelectrolytes as Coagulants and Coagulation Aids’, Industrial and Engineering Chemistry.

  24. [24]

    LaMer, V. K.: 1967, Coagulation Versus the Flocculation of Colloidal Dispersions by High Polymers, Proceedings of the Fourth Rudolfs Research Conference, Rutgers University, N.J.

  25. [25]

    Manfroy, W. and Fleig, K. A.: 1973, U.S. Patent 3719748, March 6.

  26. [26]

    Mongale, D. J.: 1971, U.S. Patent 3617572, November 2.

  27. [27]

    Naschke, J. H. and Taylor, R. L.: 1972, U.S. Patent 3644091, February 22.

  28. [28]

    Nelson, D. A.: 1971, U.S. Patent 3607738, September 21.

  29. [29]

    O'Melia, C. R.: 1974, The Role of Polyelectrolytes in Filtration Process, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Technology Series No. EPA-670/2-74-032.

  30. [30]

    Oulman, C. S., Burns, D. E., and Bauman, E. R.: 1964, J. American Water Works Assoc. 56,1233.

  31. [31]

    Panzer, H. P. and Dixon, K. W.: 1975, U.S. Patent 3894946, July 15.

  32. [32]

    Panzer, H. P. and Dixon, K. W.: 1976, U.S. Patent Reissue 28808, May 11.

  33. [33]

    Panzer, H. P. and Rabinowitz, R.: 1973, U.S. Patent 3741891, June 26.

  34. [34]

    Peck, D. F., McBride, T. J., Palmer, E. W., Schwartz, D. A.: 1970, U.S. Patent 3549527, December 22.

  35. [35]

    Pressman, M.: 1967, J. American Water Works Assoc. 59, 169.

  36. [36]

    Preston, F. W.: 1952, J. Laboratory Clinical Medicine 40, 927.

  37. [37]

    Putnam, D. F. and Wells, G. W.: 1972, Definition of Reverse Osmosis Requirements for Spacecraft Wash Water Recycling, McDonnell Douglas Astronautics Co., Huntington Beach, Calif., NTIS Report No. PB-222 943, 189 pp.

  38. [38]

    Ross, R. G.: 1976, Evaluation and Application of Zeta Potential and Colloid Titration Techniques for Water and Wastewater Treatment Control, M.S. Thesis, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, N.Y., 126 pp.

  39. [39]

    Rothwell, E.: 1972, U.S. Patent 3658474, April 25.

  40. [40]

    Rushton, B. M.: 1970, U.S. Patent 3514250, May 26.

  41. [41]

    Schaper, R. J.: 1970, U.S. Patent 3514398, May 26.

  42. [42]

    Shanfelt, D. Y. and Douglas, R. A.: 1970, U.S. Patent 3544456, December 1.

  43. [43]

    Shuster, W. W. and Wang, L. K.: 1976, Role of Polyelectrolytes in the Filtration of Colloidal Particles from Water and Wastewater, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, NTIS Report No. AD=A027330/OGI, 51 pp. Separation and Purification Methods, 1977, 6 153.

  44. [44]

    Singley, J. E.: 1965, Water Works and Wastes Engineering, 52.

  45. [45]

    Stanley, W. L. and Pittman, A. G.: 1975, U.S. Patent 3869385, March 4.

  46. [46]

    Taubman, C. M. and Carabine, A. M.: 1973, U.S. Patent 3753901, August 21.

  47. [47]

    Teote, A. S.: 1969, Environmental Science and Technology 3(9), 823.

  48. [48]

    Terrell, D. L.: 1977, J. American Water Works Assoc. 69, No. 5, 263.

  49. [49]

    Townsend, J. R.: 1969, Water and Wastewater Engineering, November.

  50. [50]

    Treat, L. G. and Hart, P.: 1972, U.S. Patent 3687845, August 29.

  51. [51]

    Vostrcil, J. and Juracka, F.: 1976, Commercial Organic Flocculants, Noyes Data Corporation, Park Ridge, New Jersey, 173 pp.

  52. [52]

    Wang, L. K.: 1973a, Feasibility Study of Treating Field Military Wastewater by a Process System Including Powdered Carbon Adsorption, Polymer Coagulation, and Diatomite Filtration, Calspan Corp. Project Report No. ND-5296-M-2 (NTIS AD Report), 106 pp.

  53. [53]

    Wang, L. K.: 1973b, Investigation of Methods for Determining Optimum Powdered Carbon and Polyelectrolyte Dosages in Military Wastewater Treatment Systems, Calspan Corp. Project Report No. ND-5296-M-5 (NTIS AD Report), 108 pp.

  54. [54]

    Wang, L. K.: 1974, Environmental Engineering Glossary, Calspan Corporation, Buffalo, New York, 439 pp.

  55. [56]

    Wang, L. K. and Pooler, J. R.: 1976, Determination of Polyelectrolytes and Colloid Charges, the 7th Northeast Regional Meeting of American Chemical Society, Albany, N.Y.

  56. [57]

    Wang, L. K., Ross, R. G., and Ciccone, V. J.: 1975, Full-Scale Treatment of Field Military Wastewaters, Proceedings of the 30th Annual Industrial Waste Conference, p. 727–740.

  57. [58]

    Wang, L. K., Ross, R. G., and Ciccone, V. J.: 1976, Water and Sewage Works 123, 42.

  58. [59]

    Wang, L. K., Ross, R. G., and Ciccone, V. J.: 1977, Water and Sewage Works 124, 32.

  59. [60]

    Wang, L. K., Shade, R. W., Shuster, W. W. and Bilgen, F. T.: 1976, Investigation of the effectiveness of Polymers in the Treatment of Nitrocellulose-Manufacturing Wastewater, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, NTIS Report No. AD-A023602/6GI, 153 pp.

  60. [61]

    Wang, L. K. and Shuster, W. W.: 1975, Industrial and Engineering Chemistry 14, 312.

  61. [62]

    Wang, L. K., Shuster, W. W., Shade, R. W. and Lynch, T. J.: 1976, Treatment of a Wastewater from Military Explosives and Propellants Production Industry by Physicochemical Processes, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, NTIS Report No. AD-A027329/2GI, 121 pp.

  62. [63]

    Wang, L. K. and Wang, M. H.: 1974, ‘Removal of Organic Pollutants by Adsorptive Bubble Separation Processes’, 1974 Earth Environment and Resources, Vol. 1, No. 74CH0876-3EQC, p. 56.

  63. [64]

    Wang, L. K., Wang, M. H., Ziegler, R. C., and Strier, M. P.: 1976, Thickening of Sewage Sludge with Quaternary Ammonium Compounds and Magnetic Fields, Proceedings of the Third National Conference on Complete Waste Reuse, 252. Industrial and Engineering Chemistry, 1977, 16, 311.

  64. [65]

    Wang, L. K., Yang, J. Y., and Dahm, D. B.: 1973, Evaluation and Development of Physical-Chemical Techniques for the Separation of Emulsified Oil from Water, Project Report No. 189, 31 pp., Calspan Corporation, Buffalo, New York.

  65. [66]

    Wang, L. K., Yang, J. Y., and Dahm, D. B.: 1975, Chemistry and Industry, 562.

  66. [67]

    Willis, R. M. and Oldfather, C. L.: 1974, U.S. Patent 3836460, September 17.

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Wang, L.K., Wang, M.H. & Kao, J. Application and determination of organic polymers. Water Air Soil Pollut 9, 337–348 (1978). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00280682

Download citation


  • Flocculation
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Waste Treatment
  • Organic Polymer
  • Biomedical Engineering