ABSTRACT: Surfactants can be introduced into the environment through wastewater or by direct contamination. Understanding the fate and transport of surfactants in the environment is important in assessing their role as pollutants. Humic substances are complex heterogeneous mixtures of decomposition products of natural organic materials. They are environmentally important because they are known to solubilize and transport organic pollutants. Therefore humic substances are likely to affect the environmental fate of surfactants. Diffusion coefficients measured with pulsed-field gradient nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy are used in this study to examine the intermolecular interactions of the surfactants sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) and cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB) in the presence of various humic substances. These results indicate that humic substances enhance the aggregation of SDS prior to micellization with a more pronounced effect observed for the more hydrophobic humic materials. The positively charged surfactant CTAB forms stable ion pairs with the humic substances.
Journal of Colloid and Interface Science 06/2003; 261(2):508-13. · 3.07 Impact Factor