Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. in Engineering Science

First Advisor

Brenda BP Prager

Second Advisor

Sasan SN Nouranian

Third Advisor

Brian BP Platt

Relational Format



Crude oil and motor oil spills on land have severe environmental consequences that pose threats to both humans and natural resources. It is particularly important to know the flow behavior of oils to protect terrestrial ecosystems from this kind of damage. The spreading kinetics, contact angle (CA), and droplet baseline studies of crude oil and motor oils were investigated over several realistic soil-based matrices composed of topsoil (silt-dominant), sand, clay, and moisture. It was found that with an increase in moisture content (MC), the spreading area decreased, and initial spreading time increased for all given oil. The initial CA generally increased with an increase in MC on all substrates except clay, where the baseline was always high for low viscous oil. The oil drops showed incomplete wetting rather than complete wetting in the vast majority of cases. The CA curve shows a significant deviation from the discussed universal curve cited in literature with increasing MC due to the change of porosity and roughness of the surface, where less deviation was noticed in the baseline curve. Xanthan gum (XG), a bio-emulsifier was introduced into soil-based matrices to understand its influence on the spreading kinetics and dynamic contact angle in clay and mixture matrices. There was a significant change of oil flow behavior noticed in both clay and mixture matrix in presence of XG. This study has shed new light on the effect of the MC, the viscosity of oils, different components within the substrates, and XG on the spreading and penetration rate of oils in a realistic soil-based matrix to help reduce the rate of environmental damage by the land-based oil spill.



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