Date of Award

Fall 2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental Engineering - (M.S.)

Department

Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Michel Boufadel

Second Advisor

Robert Dresnack

Third Advisor

Wen Zhang

Abstract

The usage of crude oil and its products is increasing; in turn, the number of spills is also going up. The inland spills are the more recurrent spills in the U.S today. This review article deals with the weathering of oils, which commences just after oil spills into the environment with various processes such as evaporation, dissolution, photo-oxidation, dispersion, emulsification and bio-degradation along with other possible fates. Bio­degradation is one of the most significant processes of weathering which depends on oil physical and chemical characteristics, environmental characteristics, pH, salinity and oil concentration. There is a range of oil concentration for bio-degradation to occur; otherwise inhibition of microbial activity is observed. The microbial activity is dependent on the type of the microbes present. The interfacial area of oil and water is also an important factor which varies significantly with variation in water saturation. The degree of bio-degradation varies between saturates, aromatics, resins and asphaltenes.

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