Making and breaking of water in crude oil emulsions
Mehta, Shweta D.
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An understanding of the processes involved in oil spills, and how they interact to alter the composition and behavior of the oil with respect to time is essential to determine an effective oil spill response. The review of past research has shown more focus on the laboratory methods and computerized modeling schemes to estimate the formation and breaking of emulsions after an oil spill. However, relatively less effort has gone into the study of emulsions corresponding to actual field conditions. This research aims to simulate an oil spill at sea by developing a new technique to make water in oil emulsions, without disturbing the marine wildlife. Further, this research also attempts to analyze the viscosities of water in oil emulsions and determine appropriate emulsion breakers for different crude oil emulsions. The overall test design for the study includes a test apparatus for spreading and evaporation, three different crude oils, a mixing chamber to form the emulsion, and emulsion breakers. Experiments in this research attempt to gain a better understanding of the processes that occur after oil spills at sea. In particular, the rate of evaporation of different crude oils and the formation of crude oil emulsions on the sea surface have been investigated. It was observed that different crude oils behave differently when subjected to the same weathering procedure. Results indicate that the behavior of the crude oil on the sea surface, subjected to spreading, evaporation, and emulsification, can be predicted by using the new technique developed in this research. This technique can also assist the development of effective recovery equipments and materials.