THE VERTICAL DIFFUSION OF WATER-SOLUBLE FRACTIONS FROM AN OIL SLICK

A model has been developed to give insight into the process of vertical diffusion of light compounds from an oil slick on calm water. Horizontal diffusion, migration, and biodegradation, processes which would lower concentration throughout the water column, are neglected. The model is formulated, and the physical constants which were not found in the literature are estimated. The diffusion of various compounds is simulated; benzene and naphthalene are studied extensively. Results indicate that for a .1 cm slick, 99% of the benzene will have left the slick in six hours, the bulk of it to the atmosphere. Biologically important concentrations can be obtained through diffusion to a depth of three or four meters. Much less naphthalene enters the water column; it remains in the slick longer, making it more available to other mechanisms for entering the water column. Alkanes with carbon numbers of nine or above will also persist in the slick for long periods of time. These results are in rough agreement with analyses of slightly weathered oil. The numerical method of solution of the set of partial differential equations is described in the appendices.

  • Corporate Authors:

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    Department of Ocean Engineering, 77 Massachusetts Avenue
    Cambridge, MA  USA  02139
  • Authors:
    • Powers Jr, R J
  • Publication Date: 1974-6

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00057471
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Report/Paper Numbers: MS Thesis
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 28 1974 12:00AM