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How to reduce the flammability of crude oil?

  1. Apr 2, 2015 #1
    P { margin-bottom: 0.08in; }


    I am currently working on a project on “safety for transportation of crude oil”, I dont have technical background in chemical and material science that is why I need some expert opinions.

    1- is there and process, chemical or material that can be added to a oil (specially crude oil), or gasoline or petrol so that it neutralizes the flammability of that liquid or significantly lower it? It doesn't matter if it destroys that oil and makes it unusable.

    2- Any material that THICKENS the oil (make it more viscous and gel like), it would be great if it thickens the oil (turn it to gel) AND reduces flammability at the same time.

    I have heard you can use water and detergent to gel the oil and make it less flammable. Is that true?

    3- I want the process to occur as fast as possible.

    Somebody told me:

    “A detergent and water can be added to oils and fuels. That reduces flammability and thickens or gels the oil. (Mixing paraffin [kerosene] and liquid dish detergent creates a thick gel that looks & works like a Swarfega-type mechanics hand cleaner).Detergent molecules are polarised - one end binds to oils, the other to water. The chemical bond makes it harder for the oil to evaporate & it's the vapour that burns. “

    how long a process like this would take and is this true?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 2, 2015 #2


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    Depends on how you apply it, but there is no "waiting time" - you just have to mix it.
    You can also use everything porous that can absorb oil inside. There are tons of materials, but most of them are probably impractical because they are too expensive, make further handling of the oil even more problematic, or use too much volume or mass. Dumping tons of sand on the oil will work as well if you have enough sand, but then you have a huge mass (and mess) of oily sand. It would be interesting what you plan to do with the oil.
  4. Apr 2, 2015 #3
    Or you could approach the problem from the other side and ensure the exclusion of exposure to oxygen.
  5. Apr 2, 2015 #4


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    Staff: Mentor

    Not to be too flippant, but from the description in the OP, burning the oil would satisfy the criteria of chemically altering it to make it non-flammable, rendering it non-usable and destroying it.
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