Author(s): Azin Amini; Jean-Louis Boillat; Erik Bollaert; Anton Schleiss
Keywords: Oil spill containment boom; Flexible barrier; Two-phase flow; Headwave; Interfacial waves; Kelvin-Helmholtz instability; Oil-water interface
Abstract: The efficiency of a flexible barrier in containing oil slicks is investigated doing systematic two-dimensional experiments in a laboratory flume. The hydrodynamic basics describing oil containment with a rigid barrier is reviewed. For lowly viscous oils, barrier’s failure is mainly due to instabilities at the interface between oil and water and to break up of the interfacial waves, i. e. the so-called entrainment failure. Laboratory experiments have shown that the failure of rigid and flexible barriers happens at a flow velocity of about 30 cm/s. The loss rate for experiments with different barrier drafts is found to increase exponentially with flow velocity.