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Activation of Persulfate by Surfactants under Acidic and Basic Conditions

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Activated persulfate is a commonly used oxidant source used for in situ chemical oxidation (ISCO) for remediation of subsurface contamination. Surfactants are sometimes used in ISCO to desorb contaminants and dissolve nonaqueous phase liquids (NAPLs). The potential activation of persulfate by such surfactants was investigated, and the reactive oxygen species generated by persulfate in the presence of anionic, nonionic, and cationic surfactants were determined. Twenty surfactants were screened; most activated persulfate to generate reductants + nucleophiles at acidic and basic pH. The most reactive anionic, nonionic, and cationic surfactants (Lankropol 4500, polyethylene glycol 400, and Ethoduomeen T/25) were investigated in more detail. All three surfactants activated persulfate; however, the cationic surfactant showed the most potential for persulfate activation with high fluxes of hydroxyl radical and reductants + nucleophiles. The results of this research demonstrate that surfactants added to ISCO systems often activate persulfate to generate reductants at both acidic and basic pH, and hydroxyl radical at basic pH. These findings provide a new paradigm for persulfate activation in surfactant in situ chemical oxidation (SISCO) systems; pH regimes >11 may not be necessary for persulfate activation resulting in cost savings and potentially more effective activation of persulfate.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2014

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