Recent Publications

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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Petroleum hydrocarbon persistence following the Deepwater Horizon oilspill as a function of shoreline energy

Evans M, Liu J, Bacosa H, Rosenheim BE, Liu Z. Petroleum hydrocarbon persistence following the Deepwater Horizon oilspill as a function of shoreline energy. Marine Pollution Bulletin [Internet]. 2017;115 (1) :47-56. Publisher's VersionAbstract

An important aspect of oil spill science is understanding how the compounds within spilled oil, especially toxic components, change with weathering. In this study we follow the evolution of petroleum hydrocarbons, including n-alkanes, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and alkylated PAHs, on a Louisiana beach and salt marsh for three years following the Deepwater Horizon spill. Relative to source oil, we report overall depletion of low molecular weight n-alkanes and PAHs in all locations with time. The magnitude of depletion, however, depends on the sampling location, whereby sites with highest wave energy have highest compound depletion. Oiled sediment from an enclosed bay shows high enrichment of high molecular weight PAHs relative to 17α(H),21β(H)-hopane, suggesting the contribution from sources other than the Deepwater Horizon spill, such as fossil fuel burning. This insight into hydrocarbon persistence as a function of hydrography and hydrocarbon source can inform policy and response for future spills.

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