Desalination, Vol.406, 109-118, 2017
Removal of metallic anions from dilute aqueous solutions by polymer surfactant aggregates
A new application of polymer-surfactant aggregates has been developed to remove dilute metallic anions, such as CrO42- and Fe(CN)(6)(3-), from aqueous solutions. This process uses anionic polymers, such as poly(sodium 4-styrenesulfonate) (PSS) or poly(acrylic acid) (PAA), as a back-bone structure onto which cationic surfactants, such as myristyl trimethyl ammonium bromide (MTAB), form micelle-like aggregates. The resulting structures, called polymer-surfactant aggregates (PSAs), have the ability to remove anions from solutions, and to form larger flocculated aggregates through a process of intermolecular association. The flocculated aggregates can then be separated out from the solution through a settling or coarse filtration step. In the work presented here, the results show that 99% of 0.1 mM Fe(CN)(6)(3-) and 80% of 0.2 mM CrO42- can be removed at optimum dosages. The change in conductivity with the change in surfactant concentration is plotted to reveal changes in the state of the system, and to detect the point of formation of the PSAs. The results indicate that the PSAs, which form at surfactant concentrations well below the critical micellar concentration, are responsible for removing the metallic anions. This process is effective for metallic anion removal over a pH range from 4.5 to 6 and a temperature range from 5 to 50 degrees C. Furthermore, both salt and organic contaminants do not significantly interfere with the anion removal efficiency. Such a PSA process thus has potential applications for the efficient removal of dilute anions, and metallic anions in particular, during process effluent water treatment. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.