Removal of copper ions and dissolved phenol from water using micellar-enhanced ultrafiltration with mixed surfactants

Chung Ching Tung, Yu Min Yang, Chien Hsiang Chang, Jer Ru Maa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

105 Citations (Scopus)


A laboratory study was conducted to evaluate the effects of composition and concentration of mixed anionic/nonionic surfactants on the efficiency of a micellar-enhanced ultrafiltration (MEUF) operation in removing metal ions/organic solutes from aqueous solutions. Based on the analysis of surface tensions and micelle sizes, it was found that for mixed sodium dodecylsulfate (SDS)/Triton X-100 surfactants, the critical micelle concentration (cmc) was significantly lower than that of SDS and mixed micelles formed. The mixed surfactant system was then applied in a cross-flow mode of MEUF, in which the concentration polarization can be neglected, to remove Cu2+ from aqueous solutions. With a surfactant concentration of 10 mM, the Cu2+ rejection was negligible by using pure Triton X-100 and increased with increasing SDS mole fraction with a value as high as 85%, which suggests that the rejection of Cu2+ was due to the electrostatic attraction between Cu2+ and SDS. Furthermore, pronounced Cu2+ rejection was obtained for a 5 mM SDS solution, which was attributable to a decrease in the cmc of SDS by the existence of Cu2+. When the MEUF technique was applied to remove Cu2+ and phenol simultaneously from aqueous solutions, the Cu2+ rejection was slightly enhanced in the presence of phenol. However, the rejection of phenol was comparatively low, ∼27%, which may be caused by its relatively hydrophilic characteristic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)695-701
Number of pages7
JournalWaste Management
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2002 Nov

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Waste Management and Disposal

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