Ultraviolet Spectroscopy Total Oil Content of Water


  1. MacGregor, C.
  2. Gray, V.
Corporate Authors
Defence Research Establishment Atlantic, Dartmouth NS (CAN);Seatech Ltd, Halifax NS (CAN)
Defence Research Establishment Atlantic contracted Seatech Ltd. To assess the capability of UV spectrophotometry to detect oil in water as may be discharged from DND vessels. For the study a brief literature review was undertaken and five oils (Diesel Fuel, Naval Distillate, Diesel Motor Oil, Synthetic Lubricating Oil, Hydraulic Fluid) assessed over the range 5 to 100 ppm in water. In addition some "real" samples from a naval vessel at Halifax were tested by UV spectrophotometry and standard methods for oil content. The findings were as follows: 1. Both UV absorbance and fluorescence will detect oil in water in dissolved and particulate phases at concentrations below 10 ppm, with a detection limit of approximately 1 ppm. 2. The portion of oil dissolved, compared to the total oil in water varied from 25% to 75%, with greater dissolution for fuel oils and lesser for lubes/hydraulics. 3. Wavelength of maximum UV absorbance or fluorescence, and response per unit concentration varied with oil type: thus making the choice of a standard for calibration of an oil detection monitor difficult. It was determined that response versus oil in water concentration, linearity, and minimum level of detection were better for UV fluorescence than for UV absorbane. TRUNCATED
UV spectrophototmetry;UV absorbance;Bilge chemicals
Report Number
DREA-CR-98-441 — Contractor Report
Date of publication
01 Oct 1998
Number of Pages
Hardcopy;Document Image stored on Optical Disk

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