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Journal of Chemistry
Volume 2014, Article ID 969720, 10 pages
Research Article

Improving the Efficiency of a Coagulation-Flocculation Wastewater Treatment of the Semiconductor Industry through Zeta Potential Measurements

1Centro de Investigación y Desarrollo Tecnológico en Electroquímica (CIDETEQ), Carretera Libre Tijuana-Tecate km. 26.5, Parque Industrial El Florido, 22500 Tijuana, BC, Mexico
2Centro de Graduados e Investigación en Química del Instituto Tecnológico de Tijuana, Boulevard Alberto Limón Padilla s/n, Mesa de Otay, 22500 Tijuana, BC, Mexico

Received 6 November 2013; Revised 11 June 2014; Accepted 12 June 2014; Published 10 July 2014

Academic Editor: Saima Q. Memon

Copyright © 2014 Eduardo Alberto López-Maldonado et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Efficiency of coagulation-flocculation process used for semiconductor wastewater treatment was improved by selecting suitable conditions (pH, polyelectrolyte type, and concentration) through zeta potential measurements. Under this scenario the zeta potential, ζ, is the right parameter that allows studying and predicting the interactions at the molecular level between the contaminants in the wastewater and polyelectrolytes used for coagulation-flocculation. Additionally, this parameter is a key factor for assessing the efficiency of coagulation-flocculation processes based on the optimum dosages and windows for polyelectrolytes coagulation-flocculation effectiveness. In this paper, strategic pH variations allowed the prediction of the dosage of polyelectrolyte on wastewater from real electroplating baths, including the isoelectric point (IEP) of the dispersions of water and commercial polyelectrolytes used in typical semiconductor industries. The results showed that there is a difference between polyelectrolyte demand required for the removal of suspended solids, turbidity, and organic matter from wastewater (23.4 mg/L and 67 mg/L, resp.). It was also concluded that the dose of polyelectrolytes and coagulation-flocculation window to achieve compliance with national and international regulations as EPA in USA and SEMARNAT in Mexico is influenced by the physicochemical characteristics of the dispersions and treatment conditions (pH and polyelectrolyte dosing strategy).