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Surfactant/detergent titration analysis method and apparatus for machine working fluids, surfactant-containing wastewater and the like

United States Patent

5,721,143
February 24, 1998
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
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The present invention is an improved method and related apparatus for quantitatively analyzing machine working fluids and other aqueous compositions such as wastewater which contain various mixtures of cationic, neutral, and/or anionic surfactants, soluble soaps, and the like. The method utilizes a single-phase, non-aqueous, reactive titration composition containing water insoluble bismuth nitrate dissolved in glycerol for the titration reactant. The chemical reaction of the bismuth ion and glycerol with the surfactant in the test solutions results in formation of micelles, changes in micelle size, and the formation of insoluble bismuth soaps. These soaps are quantified by physical and chemical changes in the aqueous test solution. Both classical potentiometric analysis and turbidity measurements have been used as sensing techniques to determine the quantity of surfactant present in test solutions. This method is amenable to the analysis of various types of new, in-use, dirty or decomposed surfactants and detergents. It is a quick and efficient method utilizing a single-phase reaction without needing a separate extraction from the aqueous solution. It is adaptable to automated control with simple and reliable sensing methods. The method is applicable to a variety of compositions with concentrations from about 1% to about 10% weight. It is also applicable to the analysis of waste water containing surfactants with appropriate pre-treatments for concentration.
Smith; Douglas D. (Knoxville, TN), Hiller; John M. (Oak Ridge, TN)
Lockheed Martin Energy Research Corporation (Oak Ridge, TN)
08/ 823,152
March 25, 1997
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to contract no. DE-AC05-84OR21400 between the United States Department of Energy and Lockheed Martin Energy Systems, Inc.