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Oil and Fuel in Water - Fluorometer Application Notes

Crude oil, which is also called Petroleum, is found beneath the earth's surface where it was formed millions of years ago by natural processes. Crude oil is present in the environment as either oil in water (emulsions) or dissolved oil in water (molecular). The detection of crude oil is a parameter that managers, researchers and consultants continue to add to their suite of measurements taken during environmental monitoring projects. Its chemical structure is mainly made up of 6-sided aromatic carbon rings, which are highly fluorescent, therefore it can be detected quite easily using fluorescence techniques. Determining the fluorescence of oil in aquatic environments further improves the optical characterization of the water column.

Refining crude oil by fractional distillation produces refined oils (fuels) such as Gasoline, Kerosene, Jet Fuel, Naphtha, Motor oil, etc. Many of the products, which come from this refining process, are carcinogenic and contain volatile organic compounds (VOC's) such as benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene. These compounds are harmful to humans/animals and when present in lakes, rivers, streams, etc, they are a major public health risk. Monitoring of aquatic environments for refined oils (fuels) is another way to provide awareness of increasing contaminations so that protocols may be implemented to avoid hazardous situations.