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Name: Rickey
Status: Other
Grade: Other
Location: OK
Country: United States
Date: Summer 2010


Question:
Would it be possible to create a bonding agent to oil so that it is so attracted to its self that it would not be able spread in small amounts. I know that by ionizing the air that dust particles will attract to one another until they form a larger particle and can no longer remain airborne. Can we Ionize the oil and form a bond so that we could pull the entire mass together for easier clean up in the gulf?



Replies:
The electrical behavior of dust particles in air, and oil in water are very different. A detailed explanation is far beyond the scope of a short answer format such as NEWTON. Generally, the ignition of two different phases is very complicated. Even your example of ionizing air so that dust particles would form larger particles is only true under very special conditions. For example, dust (such as flour) in air can form an explosive set of conditions. If the problem were easy the Gulf fires would not be making the front pages of the papers.

Vince Calder



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