NIST Time|NIST Home|About NIST|Contact NIST

HomeAll Years:AuthorKeywordTitle2005-2010:AuthorKeywordTitle

In Situ Burning of Oil Spills.

pdf icon In Situ Burning of Oil Spills. (27077 K)
Evans, D. D.; Mulholland, G. W.; Baum, H. R.; Walton, W. D.; McGrattan, K. B.

Journal of Research of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Vol. 106, No. 1, 231-278, January/February 2001.

Available from:

For more information contact:


in situ burning; oil spills; ALOFT; combustion; simulation; offshore drilling; pool fires; smoke plumes; smoke sampling; smoke yield


For more than a decade NIST conducted research to understand, measure and predict the important features of burning oil on water. Results of that research have been included in nationally recognized guidelines for approval of intentional burning. NIST measurements and predictions have played a major role in establishing in situ burning as a primary oil spill response method. Data are given for pool fire burning rates, smoke yield, smoke particulate size distribution, smoke aging, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon content of the smoke for crude and fuel oil fires with effective diameters up to 17.2 m. New user-friendly software, ALOFT, was developed to quantify the large-scale features and trajectory of wind blown smoke plumes in the atmosphere and estimate the ground level smoke particulate concentrations. Predictions using the model were tested successfully against data from large-scale tests. ALOFT software is being used by oil spill response teams to help assess the potential impact of intentional burning.