Synthesis and Characterization of Polystyrene Sulfonic Acid from Expanded Polystyrene Foam as a Catalyst in the Synthesis of Triacetin

Renita Manurung(1), Rosdanelli Hasibuan(2), Fatimah Batubara(3), Handy Inarto(4*), Alwi Gery Agustan Siregar(5), Auryn Saputra(6)

(1) Department of Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Universitas Sumatera Utara, Jl. Almamater, Padang Bulan, Medan 20155, Indonesia
(2) Department of Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Universitas Sumatera Utara, Jl. Almamater, Padang Bulan, Medan 20155, Indonesia
(3) Department of Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Universitas Sumatera Utara, Jl. Almamater, Padang Bulan, Medan 20155, Indonesia
(4) Department of Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Universitas Sumatera Utara, Jl. Almamater, Padang Bulan, Medan 20155, Indonesia
(5) Department of Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Universitas Sumatera Utara, Jl. Almamater, Padang Bulan, Medan 20155, Indonesia
(6) Department of Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Universitas Sumatera Utara, Jl. Almamater, Padang Bulan, Medan 20155, Indonesia
(*) Corresponding Author


In Indonesia, the composition of waste has gradually changed over time. To reduce expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam waste, we converted it into a heterogeneous acid catalyst, namely Polystyrene Sulfonic Acid (PSSA). The catalyst was then used in an esterification reaction to generate triacetin. In this research, the synthesis of PSSA was performed using a sulfonation reaction with silver sulfate (Ag2SO4) as the catalyst. Based on FTIR analysis, the sulfonation reaction was successful. The use of 0.5% and 1% catalysts led to a significant increase in the degree of sulfonation of PSSA, while there was a relatively constant increase when using 1.5–2.5% catalysts. The highest degree of sulfonation (78.63%) was achieved when the reaction was performed using 2% Ag2SO4 catalyst for 25 min. The PSSA with the highest degree of sulfonation was characterized using X-Ray Diffraction (XRD), SEM-EDX, and BET-BJH. This PSSA had a semi-crystalline structure with a crystallinity of 73.83%, a particle size of 1.75 nm, mesoporous pores with a radius of 16.984 Å, and a sulfur content of 15% (% mass).


EPS foam; sulfonation; catalyst; silver sulfate; characterization

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