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Keywords:

  • hydrophobicity;
  • OMA;
  • kaolin;
  • modified kaolin;
  • dispersant;
  • characterisation

Abstract

Oil–mineral aggregates (OMA) have been an effective approach in reclaiming accidental oil spills. In this study, kaolin is modified to present various levels of hydrophobicity. The results have shown that more crude oil, especially viscous crude, can be trapped in OMA when modified kaolin is used and no dispersant is added. The role of modified kaolin in OMA formation is eliminated when dispersant is used. It is also noted that there exists an optimal hydrophobicity in promoting the OMA formation and oil removal performance. Excessive hydrophobicity can lead to mineral self-aggregation, which results in less interaction between oil and the mineral. © 2013 Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering