On chelating surfactants : Molecular perspectives and application prospects

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Publication Details
Author list: Edlund, Håkan;Eivazihollagh, Alireza;Norgren, Magnus;Svanedal, Ida
Place: Elsevier
Publication year: 2019
Start page: 688
End page: 705
Number of pages: 18
ISSN: 0167-7322


Chelating agents, molecules that very strongly coordinates certain metal ions, are used industrially as well as in consumer products to minimize disturbances and increase performance of reactions and applications. The widely used sequestering agents, nitrilotriacetic acid (NTA), ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) and diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid (DTPA) belong to this branch of readily water-soluble compounds. When these chemical structures also have hydrophobic parts, they are prone to adsorb at air-water interfaces and to self-assemble. Such bifunctional molecules can be called chelating surfactants and will have more extended utilization prospects than common chelating agents or ordinary ionic surfactants. The present review attempts to highlight the fundamental behavior of chelating surfactants in solution and at interfaces, and their very specific interactions with metal ions. Methods to recover chelating surfactants from metal chelates are also described. Moreover, utilization of chelating surfactants in applications for metal removal in environmental engineering and mineral processing, as well as for metal control in the fields of biology, chemistry and physics, is exemplified and discussed.

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