Comparing Recent Advances in Estimating and Measuring Oil Slick Thickness

Project Number
Progress Date
Performing Activity
Principal Investigator
Dr. Lisa DiPinto
Contracting Agency
Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement
Contract Award Value
Estimated Completion Date

This project is a joint collaborative effort between BSEE, National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), the US Coast Guard (USCG), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), academia, and industry to advance the response community’s ability to characterize and measure oil slick thickness through collaboration, knowledge sharing, and independent systematic technology assessment and testing. The project brings together an international team of experts who are currently working largely independently on technologies to characterize and measure the thickness of oil floating on water.

The project will:

  1. Convene a multi-partner research workshop of experts developing slick thickness technologies to share knowledge and begin planning for a comparative assessment and testing of these technologies at the National Oil Spill Response Research & Renewable Energy Test Facility (Ohmsett).
  2. Conduct a series of controlled experiments at Ohmsett to measure and compare various technologies that characterize oil thickness.
  3. Conduct field testing of multiple technologies to determine field readiness levels and performance beyond a more controlled environment into an environment that is more likely to be encountered during a real incident.
Latest progress update

The multi-partner research workshop was held November 13-14, 2019. The project team conducted experiments at Ohmsett, Johns Hopkins, and the University of New Hampshire (UNH) to develop repeatable methods for creating thin slicks. Sensor technologies were tested in controlled conditions at UNH followed by testing in more realistic conditions at Ohmsett in May, 2022. Results are currently being analyzed.

In Progress
Peer Review Status