Degradation of Two Persistent Surfactants by UV-Enhanced Ozonation
Journal article, 2012

In this study the treatment efficiency of different ultraviolet (UV)-enhanced ozonation processes for degradation of two surfactants, sodium dodecylbenzene sulfonate [200 mg/L or 0.3 critical micelle concentration (CMC)] and a nonylphenol ethoxylate with 40 oxyethylene units (200 mg/L similar to 0.5 CMC), were investigated in laboratory-scale experiments at ambient temperature. The absorbance band of the aromatic ring of the surfactants was monitored during the oxidation process. The reduction in chemical oxygen demand (COD) and total organic carbon (TOC) of the surfactant solution was evaluated. The results showed that a combination of UV irradiation and ozonation was considerably more efficient than the individual processes (at least two times more efficient in terms of COD and TOC reductions). The synergistic effect of ozonation and UV irradiation was particularly pronounced when medium-pressure UV irradiation was used. By adding alkali to the solution, the efficiency of the UV-enhanced ozonation increased with respect to COD reduction but decreased with respect to TOC reduction. This indicates partial oxidation with lower degree of mineralization of the surfactants.



Alkylphenol ethoxylate


Sodium dodecylbenzene sulfonate



UV irradiation


oxidation processes



Ali Tehrani

Chalmers, Chemical and Biological Engineering, Applied Surface Chemistry

H. Nikkar

Institute for Color Science and Technology

F. M. Menger

Emory University

Krister Holmberg

Chalmers, Chemical and Biological Engineering, Applied Surface Chemistry

Journal of Surfactants and Detergents

1097-3958 (ISSN)

Vol. 15 1 59-66

Subject Categories

Chemical Engineering

Other Chemistry Topics

Areas of Advance

Materials Science



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