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Open AccessArticle

Production and Characterization of Controlled Release Urea Using Biopolymer and Geopolymer as Coating Materials

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CO2 Research Centre, Institute of Contaminant Management, Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS, Bandar Seri Iskander 32610, Malaysia
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Department of Chemical Engineering, Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS, Bandar Seri Iskander 32610, Malaysia
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Department of Engineering and Chemical Sciences, Karlstad University, 65188 Karlstad, Sweden
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Department of Chemical Engineering, College of Engineering, King Khalid University, Abha 61411, Saudi Arabia
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Department of Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering Technology, Al-Balqa Applied University, Amman 15008, Jordan
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Department of Chemical Engineering, College of Engineering, Taibah University, Al-Madinah 344, Saudi Arabia
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School of Chemical and Materials Engineering, National University of Science and Technology, Islamabad 44000, Pakistan
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Department of Chemical Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Ha’il, Ha’il 81451, Saudi Arabia
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Département de Génie Chimique de Procédés, Laboratoire Modélisation, Analyse, et Commande des systèmes, Ecole Nationale d’Ingénieurs de Gabès (ENIG), Rue Omar Ibn-Elkhattab, Gabès 6011, Tunisia
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Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Polymers 2020, 12(2), 400; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12020400
Received: 17 January 2020 / Revised: 31 January 2020 / Accepted: 3 February 2020 / Published: 10 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applied Bio-Based Materials)
Synthetic polymers-based controlled release urea (CRU) leaves non-biodegradable coating shells when applied in soil. Several alternative green materials are used to produce CRU, but most of these studies have issues pertaining to nitrogen release longevity, process viability, and the ease of application of the finished product. In this study, we utilized tapioca starch, modified by polyvinyl alcohol and citric acid, as coating material to produce controlled release coated urea granules in a rotary fluidized bed equipment. Response surface methodology is employed for studying the interactive effect of process parameters on urea release characteristics. Statistical analysis indicates that the fluidizing air temperature and spray rate are the most influential among all five process parameters studied. The optimum values of fluidizing air temperature (80 °C), spray rate (0.13 mL/s), atomizing pressure (3.98 bar), process time (110 min), and spray temperature (70 °C) were evaluated by multi-objective optimization while using genetic algorithms in MATLAB®. Urea coated by modified-starch was double coated by a geopolymer to enhance the controlled release characteristics that produced promising results with respect to the longevity of nitrogen release from the final product. This study provides leads for the design of a fluidized bed for the scaled-up production of CRU.
Keywords: biopolymers; controlled-release urea; fluidized-bed coating; nitrogen release; pollution control; green fertilizers; rotary fluidized bed coater biopolymers; controlled-release urea; fluidized-bed coating; nitrogen release; pollution control; green fertilizers; rotary fluidized bed coater
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MDPI and ACS Style

Azeem, B.; KuShaari, K.; Naqvi, M.; Kok Keong, L.; Almesfer, M.K.; Al-Qodah, Z.; Naqvi, S.R.; Elboughdiri, N. Production and Characterization of Controlled Release Urea Using Biopolymer and Geopolymer as Coating Materials. Polymers 2020, 12, 400.

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