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Table 1 Comparison of the mesoscale testing facilities

From: Dispersants as marine oil spill treating agents: a review on mesoscale tests and field trials

Test facilities Advantages Disadvantages
Straight flume tanks Dispersion test under a controlled and repeatable mixing energy level
Operational effectiveness tests (in some large-sized tanks)
High operational cost
Cannot perform in-situ weathering,
Have difficulty in waters replacement
Circulating flume tanks Investigate the oil evolution under controlled environmental conditions;
Test the dispersibility of weathered oils (i.e., evaporation, emulsification, photo-oxidation, dispersion) at realistic conditions
Less controlled waves
Oil behaviors could be affected by close oil and wave generator interaction
Floating cells Evaluate the oil dispersibility in real sea state (i.e., temperature, salinity, wind and current)
Assess the fate and behavior of oil and dispersant
The release and distribution of oil could be affected by the wind
The spreading of oil could be affected by its containment
Request logistics support and permit
High-pressure tanks Evaluate the subsea dispersants injection (SSDI) effectiveness under high pressure
Test SSDI effectiveness of “live oil”
Can only reflect the initial stage of oil dispersion at deep water
Size is limited
Large water column testing tanks Evaluate/visualize the sedimentation behaviours of spilled oil
Assess oil droplet and gas behavior at subsurface
Enables experiments with larger oil flow rates over longer time spans
Ambient pressure
The tank size limited the oils that can be released into the tank, and challenges the scaling of oil droplet size data