Studies on the evaporation of crude oil and petroleum products: I. The relationship between evaporation rate and time

Department of Natural Resource Sciences, McGill University, Macdonald Campus, St. Anne de Bellevue, Quebec, Canada
Journal of Hazardous Materials (Impact Factor: 4.53). 10/1997; 56(3):227-236. DOI: 10.1016/S0304-3894(97)00050-2


The time dependance of evaporation was studied for several crude oils and petroleum oil products. Evaporation was determined by weight loss measured on a balance and recorded constantly on a computer. Examination of the data shows that most oil and petroleum products evaporate at a logarithmic rate with respect to time. This is attributed to the overall logarithmic appearance of many components evaporating at different linear rates. Petroleum products with fewer chemical components, such as diesel fuel, evaporate at a rate which can be best modelled as a square root of time. The particular behaviour is shown to be a result of the number of components evaporating by experimentation with artificial oils consisting of 1 to 15 components. Oils with greater than 7 components evaporating at one time can be modelled with logarithmic equations; those with 3 to 7 components, with square root equations.

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    • "Researchers used the volatilization rate of isopropylbenzene to adapt the expression of water volatilization to predict and describe oil and petroleum product volatilization (Mackay and Matsugu, 1973; Stiver and Mackay, 1984; Jones, 1992). However, subsequent studies have shown that the volatilization of pure petroleum products are not boundary-layer regulated, and the relationship of the oil volatilization rate with wind speed and vessel diameter does not follow the same processes as water (Fingas, 1997, 1998, 2004). As for the volatilization of oil pollutants from porous media, these processes are much more complex (Huang and Shi, 2003). "
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    • "Curve coefficients are the constants from the best fit equation [Evap = a ln(t)], t = time in minutes, for logarithmic equations or Evap = a /t, for the square root equations. Oils such as diesel fuel with few different sub-components evaporating at one time, have a tendency to fit square root curves (Fingas, 1997; Li et al., 2004). While data were calculated separately for percentage of weight lost and absolute weight, the latter are usually used because it is more convenient. "
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    ABSTRACT: Various concepts for oil evaporation prediction are summarized. Models can be divided into those models that use the basis of air-boundary-regulation or those that use diffusionregulated evaporation physics. Studies show that oil is not air boundary-layer regulated. The fact that oil evaporation is not air-boundary-layer regulated, such as it is for water evaporation, implies that a simplistic evaporation equation suffices to accurately describe the process. The following processes do not require consideration: wind velocity, turbulence level, area and scale size. The factors important to evaporation are time and temperature. Oil evaporation does show a thickness effect, although not as pronounced as that for air-boundary-layer regulated models. A thickness adjustment calculation is presented for diffusion-regulated models. This new model is applicable to thicknesses greater than about 1.5 mm. In the case of thin slicks this adjustment may not be relevant. The use of air-boundary-models results in three types of errors: air-boundary-layer models cannot accurately deal with long term evaporation; second, the wind factor results in unrealistic values and finally, they have not been adjusted for the different curvature for diesel-like evaporation. There has been some effort on the part of modellers to adjust air-boundary-layer models to be more realistic on the long-term, but these may be artificial and result in other errors such as under-estimation for long-term prediction. A comparison of models shows that on a very short term, such as a few hours, that most models yield similar results. However, as time increases past a few days, the errors with air-boundary-layer regulated models are unacceptable. Examples are given where errors are as large as 100% over a few days.
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    • "volume, is not linear with time for crude oils and other multicomponent fuel mixtures [5]. Evaporation of a liquid can be considered as the movement of molecules from the surface into the vapor phase above it. "
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    ABSTRACT: Extensive experimentation was conducted on oil evaporation. The results of the regulation nature of oil evaporation experiments, show that oil is not strictly boundary-layer regulated specifically: 1) The evaporation rate of several oils with increasing wind speed shows that, unlike water, the evaporation rate does not change significantly except for the initial step over 0-level wind. 2) Increasing area does not significantly change oil evaporation rate. 3) Decreasing thickness does not increase oil evaporation rate. 4) The volume or mass of oil evaporating correlates with the evaporation rate. 5) Evaporation of pure hydrocarbons with and without wind (turbulence) shows that compounds larger than nonane and decane are not boundary-layer regulated. The fact that oil evaporation is not strictly boundary-layer regulated implies a simplistic evaporation equation will suffice to describe the process. A simple equation of the form, evaporation = constant X logarithm of time, is sufficient to describe evaporation. The following processes do not require consideration: wind velocity, turbulence level, area, thickness, and scale size. The factors found to be important to evaporation are time and temperature. The equation parameters found experimentally for the evaporation of oils can be related to commonly-available distillation data for the oil. Specifically, it has been found that the distillation percentage at 180°C correlates well with the equation parameters. Relationships enabling calculation of evaporation equations directly from distillation data have been developed. These equations were combined with the equations generated to account for the temperature variations. The results have application in oil spill prediction and modelling. The simple equations can be applied using readily-available data such as sea temperature and time. Old equations required oil vapour pressure, specialized distillation data, spill area, wind speed, and mass transfer coefficients, all of which are difficult to obtain.
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