SPREADING AND MOVEMENT OF OIL SPILLS

The spreading and movement of oil spills on water were investigated. Areas for spills which form lenses were measured and correlated. Most crudes tested formed thin films, not lenses; but lens formation could be induced and spreading greatly reduced by surfactant treatment. Spreading rates for small spills were measured and correlated with spill volume, oil density and water viscosity. Field data and energy conservation, however, indicated that these aspects of small spills cannot be scaled up to large spill volumes. Wind-water basin tests indicated that on quiet open water oil should drift leeward at 3.66 plus or minus .17% of the wind velocity. The percentage drift was not significantly affected by oil or water properties, depth, and wind speed, and agrees fairly well with field data. Waves caused significant reductions in wind drift, but in the shallow basin used did not induce significant drift themselves. Since wind causes waves, and deep water waves drift, further investigation of wind and wave drift interaction is recommended. Wind drift was found to be confined to a thin surface layer. The use of 1 - 1 1/2 inch deep oil-confining drogues markedly reduced wind drift. Investigation of the use of nets of such drogues and of lens formation to reduce oil spread and movement is recommended. In all cases, combined wind and current drifts were found to be less than the current drift in the absence of winds.

  • Corporate Authors:

    New York University, Bronx

    University Heights
    ,   USA 
  • Authors:
    • Schwartzberg, H G
  • Publication Date: 1970-4

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00019651
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Dec 1 2003 12:00AM