Development and evaluation of hydrocarbon sorbent materials with the aid of chemometrics

Carmody, Onuma (2006) Development and evaluation of hydrocarbon sorbent materials with the aid of chemometrics. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Hydrocarbon spills on roads are a major safety concern for the driving public and can have severe cost impacts both on pavement maintenance and to the economy through disruption to services. The time taken to clean-up spills and re-open roads in a safe driving condition is an issue of increasing concern given traffic levels on major urban arterials. Thus, the primary aim of the research was to develop a sorbent material that facilitates rapid clean-up of road spills. The methodology involved extensive research into a range of materials (organic, inorganic and synthetic sorbents), comprehensive testing in the laboratory, scale-up and field, and product design (i.e. concept to prototype). The study also applied chemometrics to provide consistent, comparative methods of sorbent evaluation and performance. In addition, sorbent materials at every stage were compared against a commercial benchmark. For the first time, the impact of diesel on asphalt pavement has been quantified and assessed in a systematic way. Contrary to conventional thinking and anecdotal observations, the study determined that the action of diesel on asphalt was quite rapid (i.e. hours rather than weeks or months). This significant finding demonstrates the need to minimise the impact of hydrocarbon spills and the potential application of the sorbent option. To better understand the adsorption phenomenon, surface characterisation techniques were applied to selected sorbent materials (i.e. sand, organo-clay and cotton fibre). Brunauer Emmett Teller (BET) and thermal analysis indicated that the main adsorption mechanism for the sorbents occurred on the external surface of the material in the diffusion region (sand and organo-clay) and/or capillaries (cotton fibre). Using environmental scanning electron microscopy (ESEM), it was observed that adsorption by the interfibre capillaries contributed to the high uptake of hydrocarbons by the cotton fibre. Understanding the adsorption mechanism for these sorbents provided some guidance and scientific basis for the selection of materials. The study determined that non-woven cotton mats were ideal sorbent materials for clean-up of hydrocarbon spills. The prototype sorbent was found to perform significantly better than the commercial benchmark, displaying the following key properties: • superior hydrocarbon pick-up from the road pavement; • high hydrocarbon retention capacity under an applied load; • adequate field skid resistance post treatment; • functional and easy to use in the field (e.g. routine handling, transportation, application and recovery); • relatively inexpensive to produce due to the use of raw cotton fibre and simple production process; • environmentally friendly (e.g. renewable materials, non-toxic to environment and operators, and biodegradable); and • rapid response time (e.g. two minutes total clean-up time compared with thirty minutes for reference sorbents). The major outcomes of the research project include: a) development of a specifically designed sorbent material suitable for cleaning up hydrocarbon spills on roads; b) submission of patent application (serial number AU2005905850) for the prototype product; and c) preparation of Commercialisation Strategy to advance the sorbent product to the next phase (i.e. R&D to product commercialisation).

Impact and interest:

Search Google Scholar™

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

8 since deposited on 22 Sep 2010
8 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 37169
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Frost, Raymond, Kokot, Serge, & Macnish, Stuart
Additional Information: Thesis embargoed until 30 June 2016.
Keywords: Sorbents, Chemometrics, hydrocarbon road spills, sorbent materials, cotton non-wovens, thermogravimetric analysis, BET surface area, contact angles, environmental scanning electron microscopy, PROMETHEE, GAIA, thesis, doctoral
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Past > Schools > School of Physical & Chemical Sciences
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 22 Sep 2010 13:07
Last Modified: 30 Jun 2016 14:00

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page