Presented June 04, 2020- Presentation Slides



“Characterizing Shipboard Bilgewater Emulsions Using Macro- and Micro-Scale Flows” by Dr. Cari Dutcher (SERDP Project Webpage)

Bilgewater is oily emulsified wastewater found the in the lower chambers of ships. Prior to discharge overboard into open waters, the oil content in these chemically stabilized oil-in-water emulsions must be reduced to below 15 parts per million. To aid in meeting this standard, our work in this SERDP effort seeked to improve fundamental understanding of the shipboard emulsion stabilization and destabilization processes, with emphasis on emulsion dynamics at length and time scales relevant to bilgewater systems. On the microscale, droplets with varied chemical compositions were generated in a microfluidic device and subjected to flow fields that enable measurements of key properties influencing emulsion stability and destabilization. On the macroscale, we used both rotational rheometry and Taylor-Couette flow to study shearing and mixing conditions on simulated bilgewater emulsion stability. This presentation highlighted results to date; the results enabled improved on-board treatment strategies to increase the volume of water that can be discharged overboard.


“Emulsion Characterization Study for Improved Bilgewater Treatment and Management” by Ms. Danielle Paynter (SERDP Project Webpage)

Bilgewater generated aboard Armed Forces’ vessels is typically comprised of oil, water, and surfactants, which can form oil-in-water emulsions. To date, bilgewater treatment methods have followed an Edisonian approach in which an oil-water separator is tested against a set of treatment performance criteria rather than investigating the genesis of emulsion formation in relation to the solution’s composition. The primary objective of this SERDP effort was to understand the physical, chemical, and thermodynamic properties of the emulsions generated in Armed Forces vessels. In this presentation, we discussed results from the project, including identification and characterization of commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) detergents from the U.S. Navy procurement data which was used to develop a model emulsion similar to what may be found on a Navy vessel. Using this model emulsion, we explored emulsion stability as a function of surfactant concentration, homogenization speed, pH, temperature, salinity, and suspended solids. A multitude of methods have been employed to describe the stability of prepared emulsions including oil-layer height, bulk-phase oil, and droplet size distribution. The structure-property relationship of the COTS detergents was presented alongside the characterization of extracted bilgewater samples.


Speaker Biographies
Dr. Cari Dutcher

Dr. Cari Dutcher is an associate professor of mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, and materials science at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Her research interests are in complex fluids and multiphase flows, including emulsions, suspensions, aerosols and foams. Cari has received a number of early career awards, including the National Science Foundation CAREER and the American Association for Aerosol Research Kenneth T. Whitby Award. She is currently serving as a principal investigator on a SERDP-supported project characterizing oily bilgewater emulsion stability and destabilization, with a focus on the fundamental role of surfactant transport, rheology, and flow on these dynamic multiphase processes. Prior to her faculty position, Cari was a National Science Foundation Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Air Quality Research Center at the University of California, Davis. She received her bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology and her doctoral degree, also in chemical engineering, from the University of California, Berkeley.


Ms. Danielle Paynter

Ms. Danielle Paynter is a chemical engineer in the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division’s (NSWCCD) EnvironmentalEngineering, Science, and Technology Branch in Bethesda, Maryland. She is the principal investigator on a variety of projects focused on the behavior and characterization of oil-in-water emulsions, electrochemistry, and ceramic membrane technology to treat Navy bilgewater. She is the author of over 10 technical reports, four peer-reviewed publications, and one patent. She received the NSWCCD Command Award for Innovation in 2017. Danielle earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia and a master’s degree in environmental engineering from North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina.