Micellar enhanced ultrafiltration: A comparative study



A pilot plant study was carried out to evaluate the performance of continuous cross flow micellar enhanced ultrafiltration (MEUF) method for the simultaneous separation of phenol and ortho-cresol from the aqueous phase using a cationic surfactant, cetyltrimethyl ammonium bromide. The membranes used in this study are polysulfone tubular hollow fibre membrane with 6 kDa and a ceramic membrane having pore diameter 50 nm with an active layer of microporous zirconia (ZrO2) supported on α-alumina, respectively. The work includes comparing the effectiveness of membranes based on pollutants structural parameters, membrane properties and membrane modules. The characteristic parameters such as the distribution coefficient (D), micelle binding constant (Kp) and micelle loading (Lm) were obtained at optimal experimental conditions. High initial rejections were observed (above 95%) for both the membranes and the permeate flux remained almost constant at 17 LMH. It was found that the polysulfone material membrane suited better for MEUF with higher and steady rejections over a period of time. High micelle leakage was observed in ceramic membrane. The energy consumption for hollow fibre polysulfone membrane was less than the ceramic membrane. © 2011 Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering