Hydroxyl Radical Generation and Contaminant Removal from Water by the Collapse of Microbubbles Under Different Hydrochemical Conditions

  • Wanting Wang
  • Wei Fan
  • Mingxin Huo
  • Hongfei Zhao
  • Ying Lu


The present study addresses the mechanism of hydroxyl radical (·OH) generation by the collapse of microbubbles in water solution. The influence of gas supply and flow rate, solution pH, and ionic strength on the aeration efficiency, free radical generation, and contaminant removal (take methylene blue as an example) are elucidated. The results showed that the degradation rate of methylene blue by ·OH increased with flow rate as well as in acidic or alkaline solutions compared to that in neutral conditions. ·OH was shown to be produced by the reaction between protons and oxygen radicals generated by the decomposition of O2 rather than water molecules. A greater concentration of O2 or H+ thus promoted the reaction, resulting in effective removal at a high flow rate or low pH. Nevertheless, there was considerable methylene blue removal at high pH, driven by the production of the dye cation through the dissociation of methylene blue and the high electronegativity of bubbles at high pH, thus enhancing interface adsorption and degradation, as well as by the high ionic strength of the solution helping to generate ultrafine bubbles and maintaining them through ionic shielding. The current work provides useful insights into the application of microbubble as a promising technique.


Microbubble Methylene blue Degradation Hydroxyl radical pH Ionic strength 


Funding Information

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC Nos. 51678121 and 51238001) and the Scientific and Technological Development Plan Project of Jilin Province (No. 20160520022JH).


  1. Azevedo, A., Etchepare, R., Calgaroto, S., & Rubio, J. (2016). Aqueous dispersions of nanobubbles: generation, properties and features. Minerals Engineering, 94, 29–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Calgaroto, S., Wilberg, K. Q., & Rubio, J. (2014). On the nanobubbles interfacial properties and future applications in flotation. Minerals Engineering, 60, 33–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ghosh, D., & Bhattacharyya, K. G. (2002). Adsorption of methylene blue on kaolinite. Applied Clay Science, 20, 295–300.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Huang, F. M., Chen, L., Wang, H. L., & Yan, Z. C. (2010). Analysis of the degradation mechanism of methylene blue by atmospheric pressure dielectric barrier discharge plasma. Chemical Engineering Journal, 162, 250–256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Jin, F., Li, J. F., Ye, X. D., & Wu, C. (2007). Effects of pH and ionic strength on the stability of nanobubbles in aqueous solutions of r-Cyclodextrin. Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 111, 11745–11749.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Khuntia, S., Majumder, S. K., & Ghosh, P. (2012). Microbubble-aided water and wastewater purification: a review. Reviews in Chemical Engineering, 28, 191–221.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Li, P., Takahashi, M., & Chiba, K. (2009). Degradation of phenol by the collapse of microbubbles. Chemosphere, 75, 1371–1375.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Liu, S., Oshita, S., Kawabata, S., Makino, Y., & Yoshimoto, T. (2016a). Identification of ROS produced by nanobubbles and their positive and negative effects on vegetable seed germination. Langmuir, 32, 11295–11302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Liu, S., Oshita, S., Kawabata, S., Makino, Y., & Yoshimoto, T. (2016b). Oxidative capacity of nanobubbles and its effect on seed germination. ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, 4, 1347–1353.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Ma, C., Zhang, L., Wang, J., Li, S., & Li, Y. (2015). Ferrous ions (Fe2+) assisted air-bubble cavitation degradation of organic pollutants. Research on Chemical Intermediates, 41, 6009–6022.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Parmar, R., & Majumder, S. K. (2015). Terminal rise velocity, size distribution and stability of microbubble suspension. Asia-Pacific Journal of Chemical Engineering, 10, 450–465.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Slimane, M., Oualid, H., Yacine, R., & Miloud, G. (2015). Optimum bubble temperature for the production of hydroxyl radical in acoustic cavitation–frequency dependence. ACTA Acustica United with Acustica, 101, 684–689.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Sohrabi, H., Mozafari, A., Sajjadnejad, M., Tabaian, S. H., & Omidvar, H. (2016). Influence of operational parameters on the TiO2 photocatalytic degradation of methylene blue. Journal of Materials Science & Technology, 12, 1282–1288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Sun, W. P., Zhu, C. Y., Fu, T. T., Yang, H., Ma, Y. G., & Li, H. Z. (2017). The minimum in-line coalescence height of bubbles in non-Newtonian fluid. International Journal of Multiphase Flow, 92, 161–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Tada, K., Maeda, M., Nishiuchi, Y., Nagahara, J., & Hata, T. (2014). ESR measurement of hydroxyl radicals in micro-nanobubble water. Chemistry Letters, 43, 1907–1908.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Takahashi, M., Chiba, K., & Li, P. (2007). Free-radical generation from collapsing microbubbles in the absence of a dynamic stimulus. Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 111, 1343–1347.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Takahashi, M., Ishikawa, H., Asano, T., & Horibe, H. (2012). Effect of microbubbles on ozonized water for photoresist removal. Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 116, 12578–12583.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Trandafilović, L. V., Jovanović, D. J., Zhang, X., Ptnsińska, S., & Dramićanin, M. D. (2017). Enhanced photocatalytic degradation of methylene blue and methylorange by ZnO: Eu nanoparticles. Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, 203, 740–752.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Tasaki, T., Wada, T., Fujimoto, K., Kai, S., Ohe, K., Oshima, T., Baba, Y., & Kukizaki, M. (2009). Degradation of methyl orange using short-wavelength UV irradiation with oxygen microbubbles. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 162, 1103–1110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Takahashi, M. (2005). ζ Potential of microbubbles in aqueous solutions: electrical properties of gas-water interface. Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 109, 21858–21864.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Uchida, T., Liu, S., Enari, M., Oshita, S., Yamazaki, K., & Gohara, K. (2016). Effect of NaCl on the lifetime of micro- and nanobubbles. Nanomaterials, 6, 31–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Wang, X. K., & Zhang, Y. (2009). Degradation of alachlor in aqueous solution by using hydrodynamic cavitation. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 161, 202–207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Yang, C., Dabros, T., Li, D. Q., Czarnecki, J., & Masliyah, J. H. (2001). Measurement of the zeta potential of gas bubbles in aqueous solutions by microelectrophoresis method. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, 243, 128–135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Yu, X. B., Wang, Z. H., Lv, Y. Q., Wang, S. N., Zheng, S. L., Du, H., & Zhang, Y. (2017). Effect of microbubble diameter, alkaline concentration and temperature on reactive oxygen species concentration. Journal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology, 92, 1738–1745.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Zimmerman, W. B., Tesař, V., & Hemaka Bandulasena, H. C. (2011). Towards energy efficient nanobubble generation with fluidic oscillation. Current Opinion in Colloid & Interface Science, 16, 350–356.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EnvironmentNortheast Normal UniversityChangchunChina
  2. 2.Science and Technology Innovation Center for Municipal Wastewater Treatment and Water Quality Protection of Jilin ProvinceNortheast Normal UniversityChangchunChina

Personalised recommendations