SESEY OIL SPILL (TAKIN’ CARE OF BUISNESS)

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By: Tiffany Alunan, Adriana Gardner,
Dulce Maciel, Emily Reynolds
HYPOTHESIS
The prediction for the results of this experiment
are that if paraffin wax, oil absorbing polymer,
wool, kitchen sponges, human hair, hay, and
recycled cellulose are used to clean-up an oil spill,
then the oil absorbing polymer will be the most
effective absorber because it is designed to absorb
oil.
PROCEDURE
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Collect materials required to simulate oil spill
For the first set of tests 400mL of water and
50mL of Mystery Oil were placed in a beaker
Different amounts of the absorbing material
were weighed and their weight was recorded
The set amounts of the material were placed in
the beaker with oil and water and were stirred
to simulate waves and ocean turbulence.
The materials were then removed from the
beaker and weighed after soaking to measure
how much liquid they absorbed.
6.
7.
8.
Materials were then placed in cups and were set
aside to evaporate the water.
The next day materials were weighed again to
record a more accurate measurement of how
much oil was absorbed. All data was recorded.
The recorded data was used to calculate
absorbency ratios and oil retention. Graphs
were made using the absorbency ratio values.
Paraffin Wax:
White/yellow solid at
room temperature
 Melting point = 4764˚C
 Odorless
 Derives from oil, so
recombines when
melted and mixed

Wool:
Collected from Oregon
sheep
 It is oily, soft, tan, and
fluffy
 When the wool hit the
oil spill, the oil
adsorbed* to the wool
immediately
*Sticking to a surface
but not soaking into it

Dr. Skip’s Hair:
Collected from Dr.
Skip’s head
 The hair was healthy,
vegetarian-fed, soft,
brown with strands of
grey, and short locks
 The hair acted
similarly as the wool
but it did not collect as
much oil

Hay:
A mixture of natural
grass which is later
cut, dried, and stored
 When the hay hit our
team’s “oil spill” it
didn’t soak up the oil
as well as we
predicted

Recycled Cellulose:
A composite made of
recycled material
 Similar to shredded
cardboard
 The cellulose soaked
up some oil pretty well
 It also trapped the oil
well, too

Oil Absorbing Polymer:
Hydrophobic
 Good absorbency
ratios.
 Creates a chemical
reaction with the oil
turning it to a gel.
 This gel is often used
to make asphalt after
oil is absorbed.

Sponges:
Regular kitchen
sponges
 Designed to absorb
water and other
solutions but not
hydrophobic.
 Absorbed more water
than oil.

Mystery Oil:
Used to dissolve
waxes and build ups
in car engines
 Contains dry cleaning
materials
 Insoluble in water
 Boiling point of 172 oC
 Density of .830g/mL
at 25oC

Crude Oil:
Rages from solid to
liquid
 Properties vary
depending where the
oil comes from
 Processed into many
different products
 Some particles have
the same density of
water but most are
lighter therefore it
floats

BIOREMEDIATION
GOAL: To grow oil eating bacteria to help clean-up the
Gulf spill
This week, using
bioremediation, we used
two fresh samples of soil
to grow naturally
occurring oil eating
bacteria.
 We qualitatively observed
oil eating bacteria after
incubating the agar plates
for several days.

Marvel Mystery Oil Absorbency
Ratios
Crude Oil Absorbency Data
45
40
25
grams of oil / grams of material
20
POLYMER
15
SPONGES
HAY
10
SKIP'S HAIR
5
WOOL
0
1
35
Absorbancy Ratio (grams oil/grams material)
WAX
30
WOOL
25
POLYMER
CELLULOSE
20
15
10
5
Type of Material
0
WAX
CONCLUSION
According to our data, wool had the greatest
absorbency ratio, which should therefore indicate
that wool is the best oil clean up material, but
our observations proved different. If we based
results off of our observations, the wax was the
most efficient because it removed more oil from
the water than any other material.
ERROR ANALYSIS
•
•
Non evaporated water
Our scales were only accurate
to a tenth of a gram
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Our Mentors:
Audrey Oldenkamp
Stephanie Silliman
Others:
Dr. Skip
Dr. Kelly’s Lab
Alia Mulder-Rosi
Our counselors
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