The use of a fluorine mass balance to demonstrate the mineralization of PFAS by high frequency and high power ultrasound

Richard W. Marsh, Jitendra A. Kewalramani, Bruno Bezerra de Souza, Jay N. Meegoda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


High-frequency ultrasound (sonolysis) has been shown as a practical approach for mineralizing PFAS in highly concentrated PFAS waste. However, a fluorine mass balance approach showing complete mineralization for ultrasound treatment has not been elucidated. The impact of ultrasonic power density (W/L) and the presence of co-occurring PFAS on the degradation of individual PFAS are not well understood. In this research, the performance of a 10L sonochemical reactor was assessed for treating synthetic high-concentration PFAS waste with carboxylic and sulfonic perfluoroalkyl surfactants ranging in chain length from four to eight carbons at three different initial concentrations: 6, 55, 183 μM. The mass balance for fluorine was performed using three analytical techniques: triple quadrupole liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, a fluoride ion selective electrode, and 19F nuclear magnetic resonance. The test results showed near complete mineralization of PFAS in the waste without the formation of intermediate fluorinated by-products. The PFAS mineralization efficiency of the sonolysis treatment at two different power densities for similar initial concentrations were almost identical; the G value at 145 W/L was 9.7*10−3 g/kWh, whereas the G value at 90 W/L was 9.3*10−3 g/kWh. The results of this study highlight the implications for the scalability of the sonolytic process to treat high-concentration PFAS waste.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number141270
StatePublished - Mar 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


  • Fluorine mass balance
  • High-frequency ultrasound
  • PFAS
  • PFAS mineralization
  • Perfluoroalkyl surfactants
  • Sonolysis


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