An investigation of micelle properties on the recovery of chromium for micellar enhanced ultrafiltration (MEUF) process was conducted using cationic surfactant of cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB). The relationship between degree of ionization, micellar sizes and chromium removal were determined in this study. The results showed that the complete ionization for CTA+ and Br was observed for CTAB lower than 0.72 mM and aggregation initiated at concentration of CTAB higher than 0.72 mM to yield attraction of counterion. The micellar sizes increased with increase in concentration of CTAB (higher than 4.02 mM) to generate micron-sized micelles. The distribution of micellar sizes was used to estimate the molecular weight cutoff of membrane used in the MEUF process. As chromium was added into aqueous CTAB solution, the chromate was dominant and bound on the micellar surface instead of Br. Moreover, the presence of micelle formed a gel-layer to slightly shrink the membrane pore, therefore, UF membrane of 30k Da molecular weight cutoff (pore size ≈ 7.9 nm) was selected in the MEUF process to achieve the removal efficiency of Cr(VI) higher than 95%.

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