Degradation of water pollutants using ultrasound

Larysa Paniwnyk, O. Larpparisudthi, Timothy J. Mason

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

    1 Citation (Scopus)


    Water can contain many different types of pollutants of a chemical and also of a biological nature and therefore must be treated prior to subsequent use. Textile effluents contain waste dyestuffs which are sometimes difficult to treat by conventional processes which often involve biological and chemical methods. Effluents from many industries, such as pulp bleaching by chlorine, hydrolysis of herbicides and the oil refining industries, contain aromatic chlorophenols. Due to their toxicity, the treatment efficiency of chlorophenols by general biological treatment systems is normally low and fairly inefficient. Other chemicals known as endocrine disruptors have also been found within our water systems. These chemicals target hormones and tissues in the body and are thought to have long term effects. Pollution by various bacterial organisms and algae is also become more common place with large scale problems occurring worldwide. Treatment using conventional methods can be difficult and in some cases ineffective. In order to treat water more efficiently advanced oxidation processes must be employed. Laboratory scale application of advanced oxidation processes (AOPs) using ultraviolet light and oxidizing chemicals such as ozone, hydrogen peroxide and Fenton's reagent have been found to be extremely effective for chemical treatment and such processes are based on the in situ generation of very reactive free radicals such as the hydroxyl radical (.OH). Ultrasound is considered to be such an advanced oxidation process. Its ability to generate hydroxyl radicals at low temperatures has generated interest in the treatment of dye decolourisation and also in the oxidation of chlorophenols. In this study the decolourisation of several dyes in aqueous solution was investigated in the presence and absence of sonication at varying frequencies with the most effective being 850 kHz. Treatment of aromatic chlorophenols also produced degradation at 850 kHz. However biological systems appear to operate in a different manner with the most effective frequency being 20 kHz which is primary a frequency used for disruption of cells rather than .OH radical generation.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 2010
    EventInternational Congress on Acoustics 2010, ICA 2010 - Incorporating the 2010 Annual Conference of the Australian Acoustical Society - Sydney, Australia
    Duration: 23 Aug 201023 Aug 2010


    ConferenceInternational Congress on Acoustics 2010, ICA 2010 - Incorporating the 2010 Annual Conference of the Australian Acoustical Society

    Bibliographical note

    The full text is available from


    • Advanced Oxidation Processes
    • Biological treatment systems
    • Chemical method
    • Chlorophenols
    • Conventional methods
    • Decolourisation
    • Hydroxyl radicals
    • Large-scale problem
    • Low temperatures
    • OH radical
    • Textile effluent
    • Treatment efficiency
    • Water pollutants


    Dive into the research topics of 'Degradation of water pollutants using ultrasound'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this