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Combustion of Floating, Water-In-Oil Emulsion Layers Subjected to External Heat Flux.

pdf icon Combustion of Floating, Water-In-Oil Emulsion Layers Subjected to External Heat Flux. (797 K)
Walavalkar, A. Y.; Kulkarni, A. K.

Volume 2; NIST SP 995; Volume 2; March 2003.

Arctic and Marine Oilspill Program (AMOP) Technical Seminar, 23rd. Environment Canada. Volume 2. Proceedings. June 14-16, 2000, Alberta, Canada, Environment Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, 847-856 pp, 2000.


National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD


in situ burning; oil spills; cleaning; heat flux; combustion; emulsions; diesel fuels; crude oil


Prior studies have shown that emulsions with greater than a certain amount of water do not bum, and thus present a difficulty in applying in-situ combustion techniques. It is also known that, when a normally incombustible material is subjected to a certain minimum heat flux, it can be ignited, and a sustained fire and flame spread can be achieved. This principle is applied to oil spill and emulsion combustion, so that, the window of opportunity for the application of in-situ burning as a primary response countermeasure for oil spill cleanup can be widened, even in the difficult situations like a spill confined by ice. In this paper we present results obtained from several burn tests with pools of water-in-oil emulsions for diesel and Milne Point (MPU) crude floating on water. Some results are also presented for emulsions of Alaska North Slope (ANS) crude. The diesel emulsions ranged from 20 to 80% water content, crude oil emulsions ranged from 0 to 40% water content, and the external radiant heat flux ranged from 0 to 14 kW/m2. Measurements included the threshold (minimum) heat flux needed to achieve sustained burning of the emulsion, average burning rate, and residue thickness. It was interesting to observe that emulsion burning is very sensitive to the external radiation heat flux. Below a certain threshold heat flux ignition is impossible, but slightly above that flux, emulsions burn very well, with reasonable removal efficiency.