University of Vermont

The College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Physics

Stirring Oil Slicks with Ultrasound

The goal of this research is to reduce the total time for degradation of oil using hydrocarbon-degrading microorganisms (HDM) for the oil spill treatment. It is known that oil is nutrition to many hydrocarbon-degrading microorganisms. When the mixture of oil and water solution is sonicated, emulsification takes place, which results in microbubbles’ formation. Consequently, the oil surface area grows dramatically. Therefore, nutrition and oxygen supply to HDM increases. Our preliminary experimental results have shown sonication significantly reduced the total degradation time for oil.