The relationship between oil and water in a mixture is well-known and governed by two physical properties:
- Specific Gravity: Most hydrocarbons have a lower specific gravity than water. Without agitation, oil separates from the water and floats to the surface. These oils are known as LNAPL’s, Light Non-Aqueous Phase Liquid. Oils (and other components) that sink in water have a higher specific gravity and are known as DNAPL’s, Dense Non-Aqueous Phase Liquid.
- Surface Tension and Affinity: Normally, oil bonds more tightly to itself and other materials than to water. This affinity, and differences in surface tension between oil and water, cause oils to adhere to a skimming medium.
Although designs vary, all oil skimmers rely on specific gravity, surface tension and a moving medium to remove floating oil from a fluid’s surface.
Find out more about the 9 typical applications for Industrial oil skimmers by clicking the button below.