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Ingeniería e Investigación

Print version ISSN 0120-5609


ORTIZ GONZALEZ, Diana Paola; ANDRADE FONSECA, Fabio; RODRIGUEZ NINO, Gerardo  and  MONTENEGRO RUIZ, Luis Carlos. Sorbent biomaterials for cleaning up hydrocarbon spills on soil and bodies of water. Ing. Investig. [online]. 2006, vol.26, n.2, pp.20-27. ISSN 0120-5609.

This study was aimed at identifying and evaluating natural organic materials which could be used as sorbents in clean-up operations following hydrocarbons spills on both soils and bodies of water. The sorption capacity of three materials (sugarcane fibre, coco fibre and water buchón was evaluated with three hydrocarbons (35°, 30° and 25°API) and two types of water (distilled and artificial marine water) adopting the ASTM F-726 standard and following the methodology suggested in the “Oil spill sorbents: testing protocol and certification listing programme” Canadian protocol. It was found that the three materials being evaluated had a sorption capacity equal to or greater than that of the commercial material to which they were compared. It was observed that sorption capacity results depended on some variables such as hydrocarbon viscosity, granulometry (particle size in Tyler sieve) and the structure of the material. Sugarcane fibre sorption in water showed the greatest hydrophobicity, different to buchón which is extremely hydrophilic. The materials’ sorption kinetics were determined and modelled with the three hydrocarbons (35°, 30° and 25°API). It was found that the materials became saturated in less than a minute, leading to a rapid alternative for cleaning-up and controlling hydrocarbon spills. Materials were also thermally treated for improving their hydrophobicity and behaviour during spills on bodies of water. Sugarcane fibre was the material which presented the best results with the thermal treatment, followed by water buchón. Coco fibre did not present any significant change in its hydrophobicity.

Keywords : sorbents; hydrocarbon absorbents and adsorbents; hydrocarbon spills; spill clean up.

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