In the acrylamide co-polymer production, the problem of reducing electrical energy consumption is especially important (expense factor). The aim of the study was: 1) to study the effects on the polyelectrolyte characteristics under the following factors: type of energy inducing the polymerization process (classical heating, microwave heating, electron beam irradiation, and simultaneous microwave and electron beam irradiation), chemical composition of the solutions to be irradiated and microwave and/or electron beam parameters;
2) to improve the polyelectrolyte parameters;
3) to develop new technologies based on microwave heating or simultaneous microwave + electron beam treatment in the field of polyelectrolytes used for wastewater treatment.
Microwave heating produces high water solubility of acrylic acid co-polymer but median molecular weight values; electron beam irradiation gives high molecular weight values but associated with a cross-linked structure (poor water solubility), while microwave energy addition to electron beam energy gives simultaneously high molecular weight values and high acrylamide and acrylic acid co-polymer water solubility.
The main conclusion is that chemical composition and absorbed energy per mass unit must be controlled and optimized in order to obtain both high molecular weight and good water-solubility.