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Surfactant Recovery from Water Using a Multistage Foam Fractionator: Effect of Surfactant Type

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The purpose of this study was to investigate the recovery of surfactants using a multistage foam fractionator for three types of surfactants: cationic (cetyl pyridinium chloride, CPC); anionic (sodium dodecyl sulfate, SDS); and nonionic (polyoxyethylene(20) sorbitan monolaurate, Span80). The studied system was operated at a constant temperature of 25°C with a surfactant concentration in the range of 50 to 100% of CMC (critical micelle concentration). For any surfactant system, the enrichment ratio of surfactant increased with increasing foam height and number of stages but decreased with increasing effects of the air flow rate and feed concentration. For all studied surfactants, the removal efficiency of the surfactant was not significantly affected by changing the air flow rate, foam height, and feed concentration in the studied ranges. An increase in the number of stages showed a great improvement of both the enrichment ratio and the removal fraction for all three types of surfactants. In a comparison among the three studied surfactants, the separation performance, in terms of the enrichment ratio and removal was found to lie in the following order: CPC >Span80 > SDS, which can be explained by the foamability and foam stability of each surfactant.
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Keywords: Foam fractionation; surfactant recovery

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: The Petroleum and Petrochemical College, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand 2: The Petroleum and Petrochemical College, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand,Center of Excellence for Petroleum, Petrochemicals, and Advanced Materials Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand 3: Institute for Applied Surfactant Research, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma, USA

Publication date: 01 May 2009

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