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Chemical Oil Dispersants Lab

Essay by   •  February 8, 2019  •  Lab Report  •  971 Words (4 Pages)  •  73 Views

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Experiment 15B—Chemical Oil Dispersants

Gusty Pohlman, Kim Hosseinpour

Introduction

        Chemical oil dispersants are solutions used on oil spills to reduce the amount of oil on the surface of the water. Dispersants are made from a mixture of three different types of chemicals: additives, solvents, and surfactants. This mixture works in a way that allows for the dispersal of the oil slick into the water column, reducing the amount of oil washing up onto shorelines. But with this benefit comes a setback. Sparing the coastal habitats puts undersea life at risk, for the chemicals in the dispersant can be toxic, and the decrease of oil on the surface contributes to the increase of oil underwater where there is an abundance of life. The key ingredient in a chemical oil dispersant is the surfactant(s). Surfactants, because they contain both hydrophobic and hydrophilic groups, are able to orient themselves along the oil-water interface. Their presence makes the formation of small droplets of oil more likely. These small drops then are dispersed into the water column, increasing the surface area of the oil. In this experiment we used a dispersant modeled on Corexit, a commercial dispersant produced by Nalco Company. We performed the Swirling Flask Test, a government-validated test, in order to simulate oil dispersion. We measured the amount of oil dispersed into the synthetic seawater and compared it to a sample without dispersant.

Materials and Methods

Oil Dispersant Experiment Materials

Crude oil sample

Chemical oil dispersant

Erlenmeyer flask with side arm

100-mL volumetric cylinder

Pipet

Sample of synthetic seawater

Digital pipettor

Shaker

125-mL separatory funnel and stopper

Ring stand with iron ring

10-mL graduated cylinder

Sample of dichloromethane

25-mL graduated cylinder

Parafilm

Spectrophotometer

Cuvette

Experimental Procedures

*See Lab Manual for information regarding the experimental procedure.

Results 

        Raw Data for All Groups

Raw Data

Crude Oil 1

Crude Oil 2

Crude Oil 3

Control

A340

0.015

0.000

0.016

A370

0.000

0.892

0.000

A400

0.002

0.801

0.005

Dispersant 1

A340

0.007

0.029

0.025

A370

0.006

0.043

0.016

A400

0.002

0.017

0.024

Dispersant 2

A340

0.043

0.000

0.044

A370

0.051

0.014

0.007

A400

0.017

0.015

0.012

Dispersant 3

A340

0.018

0.000

0.028

A370

0.019

0.007

0.035

A400

0.033

0.000

0.017

Dispersant 4

A340

0.011

0.000

0.038

A370

0.162

0.364

0.065

A400

0.000

0.000

0.021

Dispersant 5

A340

 

0.141

 

A370

 

0.104

 

A400

 

0.113

 

        Calculated Areas of All Groups

Areas (nm)

Crude Oil 1

Crude Oil 2

Crude Oil 3

Control

0.255

38.775

0.315

Dispersant 1

0.315

1.980

1.215

Dispersant 2

2.430

0.645

1.050

Dispersant 3

1.335

0.210

1.725

Dispersant 4

5.025

10.920

2.835

Dispersant 5

 

7.575

 

...

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