Comparison of polysulfone and ceramic membranes for the separation of phenol in micellar-enhanced ultrafiltration.

Research paper by Josep J Sabaté, Montserrat M Pujolà, Joan J Llorens

Indexed on: 18 Nov '05Published on: 18 Nov '05Published in: Journal of Colloid and Interface Science


Micellar-enhanced ultrafiltration (MEUF) of phenol and a cationic surfactant, cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC), is studied using two polysulfone membranes of 5- and 50-kDa molecular weight cutoff (MWCO) and two ceramic membranes of 15- and 50-kDa MWCO. Filtrations are run under laminar cross-flow and steady-state conditions. The effect of operation variables (pressure and retentate flux) and membrane properties (nature and MWCO) on permeate flux, surfactant, and phenol rejections is analyzed. The permeate flux depends, among other variables, on the fouling favored by membrane-micelle interactions, which are strongest in the 50-kDa MWCO ceramic membrane. On the other hand, surfactant rejection is mainly determined by the pore size and influenced by the pressure for both 50-kDa MWCO membranes. An equilibrium distribution constant, K(s), of phenol between surfactant micelles and water is calculated. Its value is not significantly affected by operation conditions and membrane type. K(s) is also approximately 20% lower than the value determined in a previous work with batch dead-end ultrafiltration.