Zeta potential of soils with surfactants and its relevance to electrokinetic remediation.

Research paper by Abidin A Kaya, Yeliz Y Yukselen

Indexed on: 07 Apr '05Published on: 07 Apr '05Published in: Journal of Hazardous Materials


There are numerous studies on the application of electrokinetic decontamination technique to remediate heavy metal contaminated fine-grained soils. In recent studies, surfactants have been used to increase the efficiency of contaminant removal. However, there is limited data available on how physicochemical parameters such as zeta potential (zeta) of soils changes in the presence of surfactants. Understanding the zeta potential variations of soils with surfactant addition is important because it controls the direction and magnitude of electro-osmotic permeability, which plays important role on the efficiency of electrokinetic remediation. In this study, zeta potentials of kaolinite, montmorillonite and quartz powder with Li+, Ca+2, Cu+2, Pb+2 and Al+3 in the presence of anionic, cationic and non-ionic surfactants were determined. The results indicate that anionic surfactants produce negative zeta potentials. The other surfactants produce both positive and negative zeta potentials depending on soil type and ion present in the system. The results also indicate that the zeta potential of kaolinite and quartz powder with surfactants showed similar trends; however, the absolute magnitude of the zeta potential of quartz powder is higher than that of kaolinite. The zeta potential of montmorillonite commonly shows a different trend from those of kaolinite and quartz powder. Based on the test results, it is recommended that zeta potential of soils be determined before the electrokinetic decontamination in order to maximize the efficiency of the technique.