Evaluation of the dispersants effectiveness using the Baffled Flask Test

    Natalia Grechishcheva Affiliation
    ; Alexandra Kuchierskaya Affiliation
    ; Anton Semenov Affiliation
    ; Dmitry Kuryashov Affiliation
    ; Irakli Meritsidi Affiliation
    ; Rifat Mingazov Affiliation


The use of chemical dispersants is one of the most widely used methods for responding to oil spills. The most important characteristic of dispersants is their effectiveness. The dispersant effectiveness is a measure of how well the dispersant breaks up and stabilizes the oil into the water column. In this paper, we studied the dispersing ability of three proprietary dispersants with respect to light and heavy crude oils of Usinsk and Nagornoye fields with a density of 0.816 g/cm3 and 0.896 g/cm3, respectively. The dispersant effectiveness was determined using a Baffled Flask Test; dispersant was applied to the oil slick, mixed, and the concentration of oil in a sample taken from the water column was measured using UV-Visible spectrophotometry. A modification of the standard technique is proposed to minimize the error of the method for the heavy crude oil by eliminating the error associated with inaccuracy of dosing. For this purpose, oil of the Nagornoye field was added to the tested systems not “by volume”, but “by weight”. It was provided better convergence of the experimental results. The standard deviation in the case of dosing of oil “by volume” exceeded 10% and varied from 11.87% to 13.59%. The introduction of oil “by weight” was much lower and varied from 5.66% to 6.30%. Studied dispersants have a higher dispersing ability for the less dense oil of the Usinsk field.

Keyword : chemical dispersants, oil spills, Baffled Flask Test, dispersion effectiveness

How to Cite
Grechishcheva, N., Kuchierskaya, A., Semenov, A., Kuryashov, D., Meritsidi, I., & Mingazov, R. (2022). Evaluation of the dispersants effectiveness using the Baffled Flask Test. Journal of Environmental Engineering and Landscape Management, 30(1), 106-113.
Published in Issue
Feb 3, 2022
Abstract Views
PDF Downloads
Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Becker, K. W., Coker, L. G., & Walsh, M. A. (1991). A method for evaluating oil spill dispersants Exxon dispersant effectiveness test (EXDET). OCEANS 91 Proceedings, 23, 1486–1490.

Bocard, C., & Castaing, G. (1986). Dispersant effectiveness evaluation in a dynamic flow-through system: The IFP dilution test. Oil and Chemical Pollution, 3(6), 433–444.

Brandvik, P. J., Johansen, Ø., Leirvik, F., Farooq, U., & Daling, P. S. (2013). Droplet breakup in subsurface oil releases – Part 1: Experimental study of droplet breakup and effectiveness of dispersant injection. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 73(1), 319–326.

Cai, Z., Fu, J., Liu, W., Fu, K., O’Reilly, S. E., & Zhao, D. (2017). Effects of oil dispersants on settling of marine sediment particles and particle-facilitated distribution and transport of oil components. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 114(1), 408–418.

Canevari, G. P., Calcavecchio, P., Becker, K. W., Lessard, R. R., & Fiocco, R. J. (2001). Key parameters affecting the dispersion of viscous oil. International Oil Spill Conference Proceedings, 2001, 479–483.

Daling, P. S., & Lichtenthaler, R. G. (1986). Chemical dispersion of oil. Comparison of the effectiveness results obtained in laboratory and small-scale field tests. Oil and Chemical Pollution, 3(1), 19–35.

De Percin, P., Suidan, M. T., & Sorial, G. A. (2005). Analysis of dispersant effectiveness of heavy fuel oils and weathered crude pils at two different temperatures using the baffled flask (Report No. 69-C-00-159). National Risk Management Research Laboratory, US Environmental Protection Agency.

Fingas, M., & Fieldhouse, B. (2003). Studies of the formation process of water-in-oil emulsions. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 47(9–12), 369–396.

Fingas, M. F., Dufort, V. M., Hughes, K. A., Bobra, M. A., & Duggan, L. V. (1989). Laboratory studies on oil spill dispersants. In L. Flaherty (Ed.), Oil dispersants: New ecological approaches (pp. 207–219). ASTM International.

Fiocco, R. J., Daling, P. S., DeMarco, G., Lessard, R. R., & Canevari, G. P. (1999). Chemical dispersibility study of heavy bunker fuel oil. In Proceedings of the 22nd Arctic and Marine Oilspill Program Technical Seminar (Vol. 1, pp. 173–186). Ministry of Supply and Services, Canada.

Holder, E. L., Conmy, R. N., & Venosa, A. D. (2015). Comparative laboratory-scale testing of dispersant effectiveness of 23 crude oils using four different testing protocols. Journal of Environmental Protection, 6(6), 628–639.

Lee, M., Martinelli, F., Lynch, B,. & Morris, P. R. (1981). The use of dispersants on viscous fuel oils and water in crude oil emulsions. International Oil Spill Conference Proceedings, 1981(1), 31–35.

Lessard, R. R., & DeMarco, G. (2000). The significance of oil spill dispersants. Spill Science & Technology Bulletin, 6(1), 59–68.

Li, Z., Lee, K., Kepkey, P. E., Mikkelsen, O., & Pottsmith, C. (2011). Monitoring dispersed oil droplet size distribution at the Gulf of Mexico Deepwater Horizon spill site. International Oil Spill Conference Proceedings, 2011(1), abs 377, 15 pp.

Mackay, D., Chau, A., Hossain, K., & Bobra, M. (1984). Measurement and prediction of the effectiveness of oil spill chemical dispersants. In T. Allen (Ed.), Oil spill chemical dispersants: Research, experience, and recommendations (pp. 38–54). ASTM International.

Mukherjee, B., Turner, J., & Wrenn, B. A. (2011). Effect of oil composition on chemical dispersion of crude oil. Environmental Engineering Science, 28(7), 497–506.

Panetta, P. D., Jerding, J., Podolski, A., Du, H., & Byrne, R. (2018). Crude oil viscosity research and dispersant effectiveness measurements (Report No. E17PD00017). US Department of the Interior Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, Sterling, VA.

Salnikov, A. V., Gribov, G. G., & Korotkaya, M. L. (2017). Patent of the Russian Federation No 2639330 appl. 28.03.2016, publ. 21.12.2017.

Sorial, G. A., Venosa, A. D., Koran, K. M., Holder, E., & King, D. W. (2004). Oil spill dispersant effectiveness protocol. II: Performance of revised protocol. Journal of Environmental Engineering, 130(10), 1073–1084.

Trudel, K., Belore, R., Mullin, J.. & Guarino, A. (2010). Oil viscosity limitation on dispersibility of crude oil under simulated at-sea conditions in a large wave tank. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 60(9), 1606–1614.

US Environmental Protection Agency. (1996). Swirling flask dispersant effectiveness test (Pt. 300, App. C, pp. 224–246). National regulations.

Venosa, A. D., King, D. W., & Sorial, G. A. (2002). The baffled flask test for dispersant effectiveness: A round robin evaluation of reproducibility and repeatability. Spill Science & Technology Bulletin, 7(5–6), 299–308.