Enhanced effectiveness of oil dispersants in destabilizing water-in-oil emulsions

Autoři: Gerald F. John aff001;  Joel S. Hayworth aff002
Působiště autorů: Science and Technology Department, Bryant University, Smithfield, Rhode Island, United States of America aff001;  Civil Engineering Department, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, United States of America aff002
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(9)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0222460


Oil impacting the northern Gulf of Mexico shoreline from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon accident was predominantly in the form of water-in-oil emulsions (WOE), a chemically weathered, highly viscous, neutrally buoyant material. Once formed, WOE are extremely difficult to destabilize. Commercially-available oil dispersants are largely ineffective de-emulsifiers as a result of the inability of dispersant surfactants to displace asphaltenes stabilizing the oil-water interface. This study investigated the effectiveness of the commercially-available dispersant Corexit 9500A, modified to enhance its polar fraction, in destabilizing WOE. Results suggest that Corexit modified to include between 20–60% fractional amount of either polar additive (1-octanol or hexylamine) will produce a modest increase in WOE instability, with a Corexit to hexylamine ratio of approximately 80/20 providing the most effective enhanced destabilization. Results support the hypothesis that modifying the fraction of polar constituents in commercial dispersants will increase asphaltene solubility, decrease oil-water interface stability, and enhance WOE instability.

Klíčová slova:

Physical sciences – Chemistry – Chemical properties – Physical chemistry – Materials science – Materials physics – Viscosity – Materials – Mixtures – Colloids – Emulsions – Fuels – Fossil fuels – Crude oil – Surfactants – Physics – Classical mechanics – Mechanical stress – Shear stresses – Continuum mechanics – Fluid mechanics – Surface tension – Biology and life sciences – Biochemistry – Lipids – Oils – Engineering and technology – Energy and power


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