Environmental Sciences Fair Project
The Effect of Water Salinity and Temperature on Oil Spreading Rate


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Project Information
Title: The effect of water salinity and temperature on oil spreading rate
Subject: Environmental Sciences
Grade level: Elementary School - Grades 4-6
Academic Level: Ordinary
Project Type: Experimental
Cost: Low
Affiliation: Selah Intermediate School
Year: 2006
Description: A container was filled with different salinity and tremperature waters. Oil motor was “spilled” on the water by using a syringe. After reviewing a video camera in slow motion the spread time of the oil was recorded, the oil spill area was calculated and the spreading rate of the oil spill was calculated.
Link: www.selah.k12.wa.us...
Background

Estimating the Volume of a Spill

By observing the thickness of the film of oil and its appearance on the surface of the water, it is possible to estimate the quantity of oil spilled. If the surface area of the spill is also known, the total volume of the oil can be calculated.

Oil spill model systems are used by industry and government to assist in planning and emergency decision making. Of critical importance for the skill of the oil spill model prediction is the adequate description of the wind and current fields. There is a worldwide oil spill modelling (WOSM) program.

Film thickness Quantity spread
Appearance in mm gal/sq mi L/ha
Barely visible 0.0000015 0.0000380 25 0.370
Silvery sheen 0.0000030 0.0000760 50 0.730
First trace of color 0.0000060 0.0001500 100 1.500
Bright bands of color 0.0000120 0.0003000 200 2.900
Colors begin to dull 0.0000400 0.0010000 666 9.700
Colors are much darker 0.0000800 0.0020000 1332 19.500

For more information (background, pictures, experiments and references): Oil Spills: K-12 Experiments & Background Information

Source: Wikipedia (All text is available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License)

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