S. Prévost, H. Coulombeau, K. Baczko, L. Berthon, N. Zorz, H. Desvaux, F. Testard, Th. Zemb, C. Larpent
April 2, 2013
The properties of new thermo-responsive functional surfactants, capable of forming a metal chelate, synthesized by grafting a diamide group (amino-acid residue) to the tip hydrophilic endgroup or in a branched position to polyoxyethylene nonionic surfactants [C i E j : C i H 2i+1 (OCH 2 CH 2 ) j OH)], are studied. Their use in cloud point extraction of uranyl nitrate is tested. The reversible temperature-dependent behavior of classical non-ionic surfactants associated to phase separation of micellar solutions known as clouding behavior is exploited for separation based on cation specific binding to the chelating group. The functional surfactants under investigation combine surface-active properties and characteristic thermoreversible behavior with a capacity to bind uranyl cation. The influence of the complexation on the cloud points of functional surfactants is determined. The chelating surfactants are found efficient for the cloud point extraction of uranyl nitrate at low surfactant-to-uranyl ratio. These new thermoresponsive surfactants with chelating properties hold most promise for the development of new solvent free extraction processes.