DROPPS at 2015 GoMRI Conference

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Recent Publications

The impact of Deepwater Horizon oil spill on petroleum hydrocarbons in surface waters of the northern Gulf of Mexico

Liu Z, Liu J, Gardner WS, Shank CG, Ostromb NE. The impact of Deepwater Horizon oil spill on petroleum hydrocarbons in surface waters of the northern Gulf of Mexico. Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography [Internet]. 2014;129:292-300. Publisher's VersionAbstract
This study evaluated impacts of the BP Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill on petroleum hydrocarbons in surface waters of the Louisiana continental shelf in northern Gulf of Mexico. Surface water (~top 5 cm) without visible oil was collected from three cruises in May 2010 during the oil spill, August 2010 after the well was capped, and May 2011 one year after the spill. Concentrations of total dissolved n-alkanes (C9–C35) in surface seawater were more than an order of magnitude higher in May 2010 than August 2010 and May 2011, indicating contamination by the DWH oil spill. This conclusion was further supported by more abundant smaller n-alkanes (C9–C13), together with pristane and phytane, in May than August 2010 samples. In contrast, even carbon-numbered dissolved n-alkanes (C14–C20) dominated the May 2011 samples, and this distribution pattern of dissolved n-alkanes is the first documentation for water samples in the northern Gulf of Mexico. However, this pattern was not observed in May 2011 suspended particles except for Sta. OSS. This decoupling between dissolved and particle compositions suggests that either these even carbon-numbered n-alkanes originated from bacteria rather than algae, or that the alkanes in the shelf were transported from elsewhere. Concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in suspended particles were 5 times higher on average in May 2010 (83–252 ng L−1) than May 2011 (7.2–83 ng L−1), also indicating contamination by the DWH oil spill. Application of a biomarker ratio of 17α(H),21β(H)-30-norhopane over 17α(H),21β(H)-hopane confirmed that suspended particles from at least two stations were contaminated by the DWH oil spill in May 2010. Taken together, these results showed that surface waters of the sampling area in May 2010 were contaminated by the oil spill, but also that rapid weathering and/or physical dilution quickly reduced hydrocarbon levels by August 2010.

Dissolution and growth of a multicomponent drop in an immiscible liquid.

Chu S, Prosperetti A. Dissolution and growth of a multicomponent drop in an immiscible liquid. Journal of Fluid Mechanics [Internet]. 2016;798:787- 811. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The mass flux at the surface of a drop in an immiscible host liquid is dictated by the composition of the drop surface. In a binary system, this composition is essentially constant in time and equals the solubility of the drop constituent in the host liquid. This situation has been treated in a classic study by Epstein and Plesset (J. Chem. Phys., vol. 18, 1950, pp. 1505–1509). The situation is very different for ternary and higher-order systems in which, due to the mutual interaction of the drop constituents, their concentration at the drop surface markedly differs from the respective solubilities and depends on time. This paper presents a thermodynamically consistent analysis of this situation, for both growing and dissolving drops, with and without an initial concentration of the drop constituents in the host liquid. In some cases the results, which have important implications e.g. for solvent extraction processes in the chemical and environmental remediation industries, show major deviations from the predictions of approximations in current use, including simple extensions of the Epstein–Plesset theory.

On flux terms in volume averaging.

Chu S, Prosperetti A. On flux terms in volume averaging. International Journal of Multiphase Flow [Internet]. 2016;80:176-180. Publisher's VersionAbstract
This note examines the modeling of non-convective fluxes (e.g., stress, heat flux and others) as they appear in the general, unclosed form of the volume-averaged equations of multiphase flows. By appealing to the difference between slowly and rapidly varying quantities, it is shown that the natural closure of these terms leads to the use of a single, slowly-varying combined average flux, common to both phases, plus rapidly-varying local contributions for each phase. The result is general and only rests on the hypothesis that the spatial variation of the combined average flux is adequately described by a linear function of position within the averaging volume. No further hypotheses on the nature of the flow (e.g., about specific flow regimes) prove necessary. The result agrees with earlier ones obtained by ensemble averaging, is illustrated with the example of disperse flows and discussed in the light of some earlier and current literature. A very concise derivation of the general averaged balance equation is also given.
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