Predicting the weathering of fuel and oil spills: a diffusion-limited evaporation model

Konstantinos Kotzakoulakis*, Simon C. George

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


The majority of the evaporation models currently available in the literature for the prediction of oil spill weathering do not take into account diffusion-limited mass transport and the formation of a concentration gradient in the oil phase. The altered surface concentration of the spill caused by diffusion-limited transport leads to a slower evaporation rate compared to the predictions of diffusion-agnostic evaporation models. The model presented in this study incorporates a diffusive layer in the oil phase and predicts the diffusion-limited evaporation rate. The information required is the composition of the fluid from gas chromatography or alternatively the distillation data. If the density or a single viscosity measurement is available the accuracy of the predictions is higher. Environmental conditions such as water temperature, air pressure and wind velocity are taken into account. The model was tested with synthetic mixtures, petroleum fuels and crude oils with initial viscosities ranging from 2 to 13,000 cSt. The tested temperatures varied from 0 °C to 23.4 °C and wind velocities from 0.3 to 3.8 m/s. The average absolute deviation (AAD) of the diffusion-limited model ranged between 1.62% and 24.87%. In comparison, the AAD of a diffusion-agnostic model ranged between 2.34% and 136.62% against the same tested fluids.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)442-453
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018


  • Diffusion
  • Evaporation
  • Fuel Spill
  • Model
  • Oil spill
  • Weathering


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