A pilot-plant study of the adsorptive micellar flocculation process: Optimum design and operation

H. Sun, N. P. Hankins, B. J. Azzopardi, N. Hilal, C. A.P. Almeida

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A pilot-plant scale study of the adsorptive micellar flocculation (AMF) process is presented for the first time, and builds on the solid foundation provided by previous fundamental laboratory studies. A number of experimental tests were conducted to validate the feasibility of using an AMF pilot rig to remove phenol from aqueous effluent streams. Several key factors, including flocculation time, floc settling time, optimum air flow-rate for agitation, and flocculant dosage, were determined. Residual concentrations in treated water indicated a surfactant removal efficiency of 95-98%, and pollutant removal reached 78% in two stages of process operation. A strategy for the separate recycling of surfactant, flocculant and pollutant has already been developed. The present study has thus made further progress in developing, testing, validating and optimising the operating conditions of a pilot-scale process. As such, it has demonstrated the feasibility of scaling up from the bench-scale to a commercial, continuously operated unit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)273-280
Number of pages8
JournalSeparation and Purification Technology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 1 2008


  • Adsorptive Micellar Flocculation (AMF)
  • Aqueous effluent treatment
  • Organic acids/bases
  • Removal, recycle, reuse
  • Surfactant-based separations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Filtration and Separation


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