The performance of copper ion removal using sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) and its mixtures with Brij 35, Tween 80 (TW80) and Triton X-100 (TX100) by micellar-enhanced ultrafiltration (MEUF) was investigated. The effects of the molar ratio of nonionic surfactant to SDS on the critical micelle concentration (CMC) of SDS/Brij 35, SDS/TW80 and SDS/TX100, the removal efficiency of Cu2+, the residual concentration of SDS in the permeate solution and the permeate flux were tested. The results showed that the CMCs of the mixed surfactants were sharply less than that of pure SDS. The removal efficiencies of Cu2+ were up to the maximum values 98.3 and 95.8% when the molar ratios of Brij 35 and TW80 to SDS were 0.3, and it was 93.5% given 0.7 molar ratio of TX100 to SDS. The concentration of SDS in the permeate decreased dramatically with the addition of nonionic surfactant, and the permeate flux decreased slightly as the molar ratio increased. Compared with the performance by single SDS, the mixed SDS/Brij 35, SDS/TW80 and SDS/TX100 at an optimum composition could result in not only higher rejection of Cu2+ but also much less dosage of surfactant and concentration of SDS in the permeate.

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