Oil Spill Clean-Up:  The Natural Way!
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Oil Spill Clean-Up: The Natural Way!. Image courtesy of EPA. Mathematics & Science Center. Oil Spills… A Fact of Life . Photo by EPA. Spills Result From…. Accidents Dumping Our “drains”. Photo by EPA. Various Types of Substances Find Their Way to the Bay. Photo by N. Hamm.

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Oil Spill Clean-Up: The Natural Way!

Image courtesy of EPA

Mathematics & Science Center

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Spills Result From….

  • Accidents

  • Dumping

  • Our “drains”

Photo by EPA

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Oil and Water US!

What happens when oil and water mix?

How can oil harm living organisms?

Photo by N. Hamm

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Oil Floats on Water US!

Homogeneous mixture

Heterogeneous mixture

Photo by NOAA

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Oil Spill Spreading US!

  • With low wind speed

  • With high wind speed

Photo by NOAA

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How Would YOU US! Clean-up an Oil Spill?

Photo by EPA

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Methods of Clean-up US!

  • Biological

  • Chemical

  • Physical

    (or Mechanical)

Photo by EPA

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BOOMS are First Used to US!Contain the Oil Spill

Photo by EPA

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Biological Methods US!

Photo by NOAA

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Chemical US!

Photo by EPA

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Physical Mechanical US!

Photo by EPA

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  • Occur naturally or are natural by-products

  • Are readily available

  • Do not harm the environment

  • Are they effective? Which is best?

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Your Task for Today US!

  • Conduct an experiment using a Physical/Mechanical Method of oil clean-up!

  • Determine which natural resource works the best for absorbing an oil spill!

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Scientists Use MODELS to US!Test Their Hypotheses

Photo by N. Hamm

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Natural Resources: US!

  • Cotton

  • Chicken Feathers!

  • Sawdust

  • Peat Moss and Spanish Moss

  • Perlite

What is your HYPOTHESIS?

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Rating the Different Materials US!

We will Rate TWO QUALITIES of the different materials:

  • Their ability to absorb oil

  • Their ease of use

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Our Rating Scale US!

  • We will rate the absorbency and the ease of use of each material by this scale:

    1 = Good

    2 = Fair

    3 = Poor

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One Team’s Results US!

Photo by A.C. Lundberg

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Clean-up Procedure US!

  • Dump out pan into strainer in sink. Rinse out pan.

  • Wipe off utensils (fork, forceps…) and return to kit.

  • Close all materials bags and return to kit.

  • Throw away newspaper and material testing sheet.

  • Wipe off lab table.

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Experimental Design US!

  • Title

    • Which natural resource will clean-up oil best?

  • Hypothesis

    • I hypothesize that the _______ will absorb oil the best.

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    Experimental Design US!

    • Independent Variable

      • Type of natural resource

  • Methods

  • Trials (#)

    • # per group or # per class

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    Experimental Design US!

    • Dependent Variable

      • Amount of oil absorbed

      • Ease of use

  • Constants

    • Amount of oil, Time to absorb oil, amount of material, type of oil, boom materials…

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    Visit US!


    for more adventures


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    Acknowledgements US!

    • Most images used in this lesson were obtained from the public domain courtesy of the United States Environmental Protection Agency


      and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration


    • Additional images provided by Norbert Hamm and Chris Lundberg of the Mathematics & Science Center


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    Life US!