Equilibrium partition of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in a cloud-point extraction process

Jing Liang Li, Bing Hung Chen

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93 Citations (Scopus)


A cloud-point extraction (CPE) process using the nonionic surfactant Tergitol 15-S-7, a secondary ethoxylated alcohol, to extract selected polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from aqueous solutions is investigated. The CPE process is facilitated at the ambient temperature, ca. 22°C, by the reduction of the cloud-point temperature of the surfactant solution by addition of sodium sulfate. It is observed that the preconcentration factor could be enhanced either by increasing the salt concentration or by decreasing the initial surfactant concentration in the micellar solution. A high preconcentration factor of about 40 was achieved at 1 wt% surfactant concentration with the addition of 0.6 M Na2SO4. It is also noted that the equilibrium partition coefficients of the model PAHs are nearly independent of surfactant concentrations, up to 3 wt%, in this study. Correlations between the equilibrium partition coefficients Kp of the PAHs and their octanol-water partition coefficients Kow, as well as Kp and the molar volume Vx of these PAHs, indicate that the partition processes of the PAHs in the CPE processes are mainly governed by their hydrophobic affinities to the surfactant aggregates. Furthermore, the effect of added Na2SO4 on the equilibrium partition coefficients is also studied. It is shown that addition of more Na2SO4 to the surfactant solution gives more partition of the PAHs into the surfactant-rich phase.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)625-632
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Colloid And Interface Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2003 Jul 15

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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