Polymers (Basel). 2023 Jul 25;15(15):3157. doi: 10.3390/polym15153157.
Today, the high concentrations of copper found in water resources result in an urgent problem to solve since human health and aquatic ecosystems have been affected. Functionalized crosslinked polyketone resins (XLPK) have demonstrated high performance for the uptake of heavy metals in water solutions. In addition, its green chemical synthesis makes these resins very attractive as sorbents for metal ions contained in wastewater. XLPK are not soluble in aqueous media and do not require any catalyst, solvent, or harsh conditions to carry out the uptake process. In this paper, a series of functionalized XLPK with pending amino-derivatives namely; butylamine (BA), amino 2-propanol (A2P), 4-(aminomethyl) benzoic acid (HAMC), 6-aminohexanoic acid (PAMBA), and 1,2 diamino propane (DAP) directly attached to the pyrrole backbone of the polymers and crosslinked by di-amine derivatives was investigated using Density Functional Theory (DFT) calculations. Our computational analysis revealed that dipole-dipole interactions played a crucial role in enhancing the adsorption of Cu2+ ions onto XLPKs. The negatively charged ketone moieties and functional groups within XLPKs were identified as key adsorption sites for the selective binding of Cu2+ ions. Additionally, we found that XLPKs exhibited strong electrostatic interactions primarily through the -NH2 and -C=O groups. Evaluation of the adsorption energies in XLPK-Cu(II) complexes showed that the DAP-Cu(II) complex exhibited the highest stability, attributed to strong Cu(II)-N binding facilitated by the amino moiety (-NH2). The remaining XLPKs displayed binding modes involving oxygen atoms (Cu(II)-O) within the ketone moieties in the polymer backbone. Furthermore, the complexation and thermochemical analysis emphasized the role of the coordinator atom (N or O) and the coordinating environment, in which higher entropic effects involved in the adsorption of Cu2+ ions onto XLPKs describes a lower spontaneity of the adsorption process. The adsorption reactions were favored at lower temperatures and higher pressures. These findings provide valuable insights into the reactivity and adsorption mechanisms of functionalized and crosslinked polyketones for Cu2+ uptake, facilitating the design of high-performance polymeric resins for water treatment applications.