Oil-mineral-aggregates (OMA) have been shown to be effective in oil spills cleanup. Experimental work was carried out to study the effects of physical-chemical properties of natural minerals and chemically modified minerals on OMA formation and oil removal. The results showed that the hydrophobicity, particle sizes and specific surface of minerals played an important role in OMA formation. Appropriate hydrophobicity of minerals can enhance the formation of OMA. The surface property of minerals can also influence the shape of OMA. Spherical mineral-oil aggregates were frequently formed with hydrophilic minerals while irregular shaped OMA were observed with hydrophobic minerals. The sizes of OMA also increased when the minerals changed from hydrophilic to hydrophobic. The effects of dispersant and mixing energy were also carefully studied. The results showed that dispersant were a dominant factor. When dispersant was applied, effects of other factors became minimal. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.
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