Evaluation of mixing energy in laboratory flasks used for dispersant effectiveness testing

Vikram J. Kaku, Michel C. Boufadel, Albert D. Venosa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


The evaluation of dispersant effectiveness used for oil spills is commonly done using tests conducted in laboratory flasks. The success of a test relies on replication of the conditions at sea. We used a hot wire anemometer to characterize the turbulence characteristics in the swirling flask (SF) and the baffled flask (BF), the latter is being considered by the Environmental Protection Agency to replace the prior. We used the measurements to compute the velocity gradient, G and the energy dissipation rate per unit mass, ε. The study shows that the mixing in the BF is more uniformly distributed than that in the SF. Flask average energy dissipation rates in the SF were about 2 orders of magnitude smaller than those in the BF. The sizes of the microscales in the BF were found to be much smaller than that in the SF. Also, in the BF, the sizes of the microscales approached the size of oil droplets observed at sea (50-400 μm), which means that the turbulence in the BF closely resembles the turbulence occurring at sea during breaking waves. Hence, the BF is preferable for dispersant testing in the laboratory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-101
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Environmental Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Environmental Science
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Civil and Structural Engineering


  • Anemometers
  • Data collection
  • Energy dissipation
  • Oil spills
  • Time series analysis
  • Turbulence
  • Velocity


Dive into the research topics of 'Evaluation of mixing energy in laboratory flasks used for dispersant effectiveness testing'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this