Use of 24kHz ultrasound to improve sulfate precipitation from wastewater

Lisa A. Davies, Andrew Dargue, John Dean, Michael Deary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
18 Downloads (Pure)


Elevated sulfate concentrations in industrial effluent can lead to a number of significant problems, the most serious of which is the corrosion of concrete sewers as a result of hydrogen sulfide induced biogenic sulfuric acid attack; hydrogen sulfide can also create odor nuisance problems. The most common treatment process for sulfate removal from wastewaters is to precipitate it as gypsum using lime addition. Nevertheless, meeting discharge consent limits for sulfate can often present practical challenges due to the solubility of gypsum and so there is a need to investigate technological solutions that might provide for more consistent sulfate removal. This paper reports on the application of ultrasound during the sulfate precipitation process. We show that with as little as 10 s sonication at 24 kHz, significant increases in the rate of sulfate precipitation are observed. Particle size analysis, pH profiles and SEM micrographs, suggest that the likely mode of action is disaggregation of the calcium hydroxide particles, giving a greater solid–liquid interface, thus resulting in a faster dissolution rate and more readily available calcium ions. A range of experimental variables are studied, including the duration and power of sonication, as well as initial sulfate concentration and the effect of changing the time at which sonication is applied. For both sonicated and non-sonicated samples, precipitation commences almost immediately that the lime is added and so induction time is not an issue in this system.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)424-431
JournalUltrasonics Sonochemistry
Early online date23 Aug 2014
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2015


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