Comparative Simulation of Oil Weathering

by Hector R. Fuentes,
Rudolf Jaffé,
Vassilios A. Tsihrintzis,
Rahul V. Shrotriya,

Abstract: Oil spills in the aquatic environment, an unfortunately more and more common occurrence, cause contamination effects which negatively impact water quality, health of ecosystems and water uses. Understanding those processes which transform the composition of oil fractions is of great importance in environmental assessment studies. This paper shares information on experimental efforts to study the behavior of four different oils when subjected to a bench-scale experimental weathering procedure, as a basis to estimate physical and chemical changes of slicks and solubilization of toxic hydrocarbons. Weathering is completed at an experimental station located outdoors where simulated oil slicks contact waters under controlled mixing conditions. Results show the difference in the change of physical properties (e.g., viscosity, surface tension) and chemical composition of slicks and exposed water columns, as function of oil type and weathering time.

Subject Headings: Hazardous materials spills | Weathering | Aquatic habitats | Water pollution | Water quality | Chemical properties | Water management | Surface properties

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