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Ignition of Weathered and Emulsified Oils (NIST SP 995)



Anthony D. Putorti Jr., D D. Evans, E J. Tennyson


In situ burning of oil spills has been shown to be a rapid means of removing oil from the water surface. Although fresh oil is usually easily ignited, the ability to ignite weathered oils and water-in-oil emulsions is less certain. This paper presents results from laboratory experiments that measure the ignition times for oils and emulsions when heated by thermal radiation. Measurements of thermal radiation for diesel fuel pool fires of various sizes likely to be used for oil spill ignition are combined with the laboratory measurements of ignition times to provide a guide for ignition of weathered and emulsified oils under no wind conditions.
Special Publication (NIST SP) - 995
Report Number


oil spills, in situ combustion, oils, emulsions, experiments, ignition time, thermal radiation, diesel fuels, pool fires, in situ burning


Putorti, A. , Evans, D. and Tennyson, E. (2003), Ignition of Weathered and Emulsified Oils (NIST SP 995), Special Publication (NIST SP), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed February 20, 2024)
Created March 1, 2003, Updated February 19, 2017