Oil Spills

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					Oil Spills

      American Institute
    of Chemical Engineers
             Petroleum Oil

   Petroleum oil is a dark colored, flammable liquid found
    throughout the world in underground pockets in the earth’s
    outer layer of rocks.
   Refined petroleum oil has many uses including gasoline for
    cars; fuel for ships and airplanes; heating fuel for homes,
    schools, and businesses; the manufacture of plastic products;
    and much more.
   Oil producers ship millions of barrels of petroleum oil around
    the world each day.
   Oil tankers are huge ships that can carry more than 200,000
    tons of oil.
                America’s Worst Oil Spill

March 24, 1989 The Exxon Valdez oil tanker scraped along a
rocky ocean reef in Alaska cutting open the hull of the ship.
Thousands of tons of oil spilled into the ocean - enough to fill a
football stadium.
     Damaging Effects of Oil Spills

   Oil on the water’s surface can catch on fire and pollute the air.
   Oil can sink to the ocean floor and destroy the habitats of sea
   Oil can react with oxygen in the air to form acids that are
    carried by wind and eventually fall back to the ground as acid
   Oil washes up on beaches and marshes resulting in life
    threatening habitats for wildlife species.
   Sea turtles, birds, whales, fish, otters and other animals can
    become oil-soaked and die.
   Dear, bears, wolves, dogs, and cats can die from eating oil-
    soaked beach plants and animal carcasses.
Oil clogs the spaces between a bird’s feathers, making it impossible
for them to fly. Many birds drown and sink in the ocean, never
making it to the beaches.

Cleaning oiled birds is not always successful. The birds are weak
from struggling in the oil and may be ill from digesting oil while
trying to clean their feathers.
How can oil spills be cleaned up?

   Contain spill with oil booms. Booms are giant styrofoam logs
    wrapped in plastic that act like a floating fence.

   Vacuum up spilled oil with skimmer boats. A skimmer is a boat
    with special equipment that collects oil from the surface of calm

   Absorb the oil with sawdust, straw, foam chips, or other

   Use chemicals to disperse the oil into small droplets and let it
    drift out to sea.

   Biodegrade the oil by spreading microbes on beaches. Microbes
    are tiny organisms that can digest the oil.
How can oil tanker spills be prevented?

Design safer oil tankers.
   Double lined bottom instead of single metal layer.
   Separate compartments for oil storage. In a double-hull tanker,
    the cargo tanks are separated from the ships outer hull to
    protect against the impact of an accident.

Thorough training of tanker crews.
   Develop better emergency procedures.
   Improve navigation skills.
Properties of Oil that Affect Cleanup

   A measure of a fluid’s resistance to flow. The hotter a fluid, the more
   easily it flows. Oil spilled in the cold waters of Alaska spreads slower
   than oil spilled off the warm coast of South America.

   A measure of how heavy a substance is in a fixed amount of volume.
   Many oils float on top of water because they are lighter than water.

   A measure of how easily a fluid is absorbed, or soaked up, by a
   different material. Engineers use absorbent pillows to soak up spilled
                       Activity: Make a Vegetable-Oil Tanker

1. Shape a small piece of aluminum foil into a canoe - a little bigger than your thumb.
   Try to come up with a sturdy ship design.

2. Fill your tanker with cooking oil and float it in a dish half full of water.

3. When you are ready, tip the boat over.

4. Try to contain the floating oil with a loop of string or yarn.

5. Now use some cotton balls, a ripped piece of paper towel, or a small piece of lettuce to
   soak up the oil. Try all three materials to absorb the oil.

6. Record your experiment results on a sheet of paper: could the oil be contained with
   string, what material soaked up the oil the best, was your tanker easy to turn over.
              Oil Spills

 Engineers and scientists develop the
technology to help prevent oil spills and
         to clean up oil spills.

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