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Date of Award


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Chemical Engineering (MS)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Chemical Engineering

First Advisor

Gerard T Caneba


Tony N Rogers


Surfactants find large applications in detergents, paints, coatings, food and pharmaceutical industries. Other than that, much focused work has been carried out in oil recovery in petroleum industries and raw material extraction in mining industries. This is because of their unique structure and ability to simultaneously adhere to materials which are both structurally and physically different. The current thesis focuses on interactions of oil with different commercially available and laboratory synthesized surfactants in terms of characteristics such as foaming, ultrasound exposure and toxicity.

Foaming is one important characteristic of surfactants that is widely utilized for oil recovery purposes. Researchers utilize surfactants' special ability to provide foam stability to for more efficient oil herding capability. The foam stability and foam volumes are calculated using static foam height tests. Further dispersion or oil in water emulsion formation is observed using ultrasound sources. As described earlier surfactants are not only used as foams for oil displacement, but they are also used for dispersion purposes where they are key components of dispersant formulations. During such operations, especially in sea conditions where adverse effects on aquatic life are a concern, toxicity of chemicals used becomes an important factor. Our toxicity testing experiments involves different surfactants, solvents and crude oil combinations through exposure to special light luminescent bacteria. The decrease in light intensity of the exposed bacteria is related to toxic effects of the samples.