Oil Spill Essay

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The purpose of my experiment is to determine whether human hair or animal hair is better at absorbing oil. In order to find this out, the following questions have been researched, how do you clean an oil spill? Why does hair soak up oil? How is the hair used? Does type/color matter? How effective is it? I will have 10 trails, using the same amount of hair and oil each time, the oil will also be mixed with water to duplicate a more accurate oil spill environment.

How do you clean an oil spill?

There are many different ways to clean an oil spill, because no two oil spills are the same, they vary in location, oil types, and other conditions involved. Depending on the spill, the best method is to leave the oil alone and let it break down by natural means. (University of Delaware, 2004) But, although by far the cheapest method, it cannot be used for large oil spills, such as the one in the Gulf of Mexico. Another way is to use dispersants to break up the oil, this will speed up the oil’s natural biodergration, (University of Delaware, 2004), and dispersants are used by reducing the surface tension to stop oil and water from mixing.
The most expensive way is to introduce a new biological agents to the spill to hasten biodegrading, very similar to dispersants, but they work faster that dispersant, and are more eco-friendly. (NOAA, 2012). Most of the components of the oil will be washed up on shore, but they can easily be broken down by microorganisms and bacteria. But the effectiveness of this technique will always depend on factors like whether the ground has sand or pebbles, because of the difference of organisms. But one of the most effective and cheapest solutions to cleaning up oil spills is using a simple...

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...tems supervisor for Marshall Contractor BAMSI, Inc., filled a 55-gallon oil drum with 40 gallons of water and 15 gallons of oil. "The mixture was filtered through nylon bags filled with hair," said Glover. "When the water was tested after just a single pass through McCrory's innovative filter, only 17 parts of oil per million parts of water remained." McCrory estimates that 25,000 pounds of hair in nylon collection bags may be enough to adsorb 170,000 gallons of spilled oil. Other tests show that a gallon of oil can be adsorbed in less than two minutes with McCrory's method. There is also a potential cost savings in McCrory's method. Oil clean ups now cost approximately $10 to recover a gallon of oil. McCrory's system may cost as little as $2 per gallon and offers the additional benefit of being able to use the recovered oil for fuel. (Marshall Flight Center, 2008)

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