This research focused on the use of sonication to destroy surfactants and surface tension properties in industrial wastewaters that affect traditional water treatment processes. We have investigated the sonochemical destruction of surfactants and a chelating agent to understand the release of metals from surfactants during sonication. In addition, the effects of physical properties of surfactants and the effect of ultrasonic frequency were investigated to gain an understanding of the factors affecting degradation. Sonochemical degradation of surfactants was observed to be more effective than nonsurfactant compounds. In addition, as the concentration is increased, the degradation rate constant does not decrease as significantly as with nonsurfactant compounds in the near-field acoustical processor reactor. The degradation of metal complexes is not as effective as in the absence of the metal. However, this is likely an artifact of the model complexing agent used. Surfactant metal complexes are expected to be faster, as they will accumulate at the hot bubble interface, significantly increasing ligand exchange kinetics and thus degradation of the complex.
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