Recent Publications

Droplet and bubble formation of combined oil and gas releases in subsea blowouts.

Zhao L, Boufadel MC, King T, Robinson B, Goa F, Socolofsky SA, Lee K. Droplet and bubble formation of combined oil and gas releases in subsea blowouts. Marine Pollution Bulletin [Internet]. 2017;120 (1-2) :203-216. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Underwater blowouts from gas and oil operations often involve the simultaneous release of oil and gas. Presence of gas bubbles in jets/plumes could greatly influence oil droplet formation. With the aim of understanding and quantifying the droplet formation from Deepwater Horizon blowout (DWH) we developed a new formulation for gas-oil interaction with jets/plumes. We used the jet-droplet formation model VDROP-J with the new module and the updated model was validated against laboratory and field experimental data. Application to DWH revealed that, in the absence of dispersant, gas input resulted in a reduction of d /react-text 50 react-text: 182 by up to 1.5 /react-text react-text: 183   /react-text react-text: 184 mm, and maximum impact occurred at intermediate gas fractions (30–50%). In the presence of dispersant, reduction in d /react-text 50 react-text: 260 due to bubbles was small because of the promoted small sizes of both bubbles and droplets by /react-text surfactants react-text: 262 . The new development could largely enhance the prediction and response to oil and gas blowouts.

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Oil Jet with Dispersant: Macro-Scale Hydrodynamics and Tip Streaming

Zhao L, Gao F, Boufadel C. M. Oil Jet with Dispersant: Macro-Scale Hydrodynamics and Tip Streaming. AIChE Journal [Internet]. 2017. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Modeling the movement of oil released underwater is a challenging task due to limitations in measuring the hydrodynamics in an oil-water system. In this work, we conducted an experiment of horizontal release of oil without and with dispersant. The model VDROP-J was used and compared to the model JETLAG, a miscible plume trajectory model. Both models were found to reproduce the oil jet hydrodynamics for oil without and with dispersant. The predicted DSD from VDROP-J matched closely observation for untreated oil. For oil with dispersant, experimental results have shown evidence that tip streaming occurred. For this purpose, a new conceptual module was developed in VDROP-J to capture the tip streaming phenomenon and an excellent match was achieved with observation. This study is the first to report tip streaming occurring in underwater oil jets, which should have consequences on predicting the DSD when dispersant are used on an underwater oil release. © 2017 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 2017
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An in-depth survey of the oil spill literature since 1968: Long term trends and changes since Deepwater Horizon

Murphy D, Gemmell B, Vacarri L, Li C, Bacosa H, Evans M, Gemmell C, Harvey T, Jalali M, Niepa THR. An in-depth survey of the oil spill literature since 1968: Long term trends and changes since Deepwater Horizon . Marine Pollution Bulletin [Internet]. 2016;113 (1-2) :371-379. Publisher's VersionAbstract

In order to characterize the state of oil spill research and describe how the field has changed since its inception in the 1960s and since the Deepwater Horizon spill in 2010, we examined approximately 10% of oil spill literature (1255 of over 11,000 publications) published from 1968 to 2015. We find that, despite its episodic nature, oil spill research is a rapidly expanding field with a growth rate faster than that of science as a whole. There is a massive post-Deepwater Horizon shift of research attention to the Gulf of Mexico, from 2% of studies in 2004–2008 to 61% in 2014–2015, thus ranking Deepwater Horizon as the most studied oil spill. There is, however, a longstanding gap in research in that only 1% of studies deal with the effects of oil spills on human health. These results provide a better understanding of the current trends and gaps within the field.

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