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Does Temperature Affect Oil Spill Cleanup

based on 11 ratings
Author: Maxine Levaren

Because oil spills are a constant environmental concern, environmentalists are always looking for effective ways to clean up the pollution. You can find several good products on the market, but does water temperature affect how they work? Rebecca Marcus wanted to know.

Check out her display in the figure.

Figure: Project display for “Does temperature affect oil spill cleanup?”

Hypothesis

I believe that of five absorbents tested, Enviro-Bond 403 will work better than other substances in absorbing oil at 21@dgs C (70@dgs F) and 6.6@dgs C (44@dgs F).

Absorbents such as Sea Sweep and Spill Magic will work better at warmer temperatures, and absorbents such as peat moss and sawdust will work better at colder temperatures.

Independent variables

  • Temperature of water
  • Oil cleanup substance used

Dependent variables

Amount of oil and water absorbed by each absorbent at both temperatures.

Controls

  • Amount of water and oil used for each test
  • Time allowed for each test

Experimental groups

  • At 70@dgs F and 44@dgs F:
  • Enviro-Bond 403
  • Sea Sweep
  • Sawdust
  • Spill Magic
  • Peat moss

Materials

  • Enviro-Bond 403 polymer (a natural or synthetic compound of high molecular weight)
  • Sea Sweep
  • Sawdust
  • Spill Magic
  • Peat moss
  • 250 ml and 50 ml beakers (2 each)
  • One gallon crude oil or Marvel Mystery oil
  • Bowl or tub of water
  • Mixing and measuring bowls, spoons
  • Thermometer
  • Scale
  • Timer
  • Disposal containers
  • Clean-up materials

Procedures

  1. Prepare water at the proper temperatures (70@dg F and 44@dg F) for absorption tests with each absorbent.
  2. For each absorbent at each temperature, do the following:
    • Pour 200 ml water into glass bowl.
    • Pour 50 ml oil into small beaker.
    • Add oil to glass bowl with water.
    • Add 50 ml absorbent and wait 10 minutes.
    • Strain contents of glass bowl into clean beaker.
    • Wait 10 minutes for oil and water to settle, and let strainer drip into beaker.
    • Tape the side of the beaker and mark the levels of oil and water to determine amount of oil remaining.
  3. Clean beakers and bowl between each test.

Results

The table shows the results for volumes of 50 milliliters at 21@dg C (70@dg F).

Table                      Absorption Levels of Five Substances at 21@dg C

Absorbent

Weight (in grams)

Oil Absorption (in milliliters)

Water Absorption

Sea Sweep

10

10

0

Enviro-Bond 403

12

25

0

Spill Magic

8

10

25

Sawdust

5

10

25

Peat Moss

7

18

6

 

Conclusions

My hypothesis was correct because the Enviro-Bond 403 worked better than the Sea Sweep, sawdust, Spill Magic or peat moss at both temperatures.

The table shows the results for volumes of 50 milliliters at 6.6@dg C (44@dg F).

Table           
Absorption Levels of Five Substances at 6.6@dg C

Absorbent

Weight (in grams)

Oil Absorption (in milliliters)

Water Absorption

Sea Sweep

10

25

0

Enviro-Bond 403

12

35

0

Spill Magic

8

0

19

Sawdust

6

10

6

Peat Moss

8

20

10

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