Building a simulated oil leak generator

As part of our subsurface oil spill project I have been working on the development of simulation rig to demonstrate the sensor in schools. At the moment the sensor is already stable is water and response well to localised oil in water so the kit is mostly about showing that effect visually.

My first video (below) shows me testing our initial set up to see if we get a good flow rate from the end of the buried sample tube into the water. In this video I’m simply using food dye as it shows up well and will give us a a good idea of how the sample is coming our of the tube.

As I think you can see in the video the dye is expressed into the water quite well. It did seem to get trapped in the rocks at the bottom quite a bit. Unfortunately the tube was getting stuck up against the side of the tank which is causing the dye to pool around it. To fix this I used a bottle cap (with a hole cut out the middle) to act as a collar around the tube so that it would be held away from the side. The second video shows this working considerably better with a little bit of sesame seed oil.

Now all I need is a little boat and to mount our sensor and we’re good to go for demos!

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