Ocean Science Journal

, Volume 46, Issue 4, pp 299–305 | Cite as

Investigating the effectiveness of the surfactant dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate to disperse oil in a changing marine environment

  • David A. Steffy
  • Alfred C. Nichols
  • George Kiplagat


We investigated the surfactant dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate (DOSS) and its delivery system Corexit 9500A, used to disperse oil released during the Gulf of Mexico spill during the summer of 2010. DOSS is an organic sulfonic acid salt that acts as a synthetic detergent and disrupts the interfacial tension between the salt water and crude oil phases. The disruption reaches a maximum at or above the critical micelle concentration (CMC). The CMC for the surfactant was determined to be 0.17% solution in deionized water at a pH of 7.2 and a temperature of 21.1 °C (70°F). The CMC is lower in salt water, at 0.125% solution. This has been identified as a “salting out” effect (Somasundaran, 2006). The CMC of DOSS in both saline and deionized water occurred at lower-percent solutions at higher temperatures. The surface tension versus concentration plots can be modeled using a power equation, with correlation coefficients consistently over 0.94. Surface tension versus concentration plots are scalable to fit the desired temperature by the function f(x) = (1/1+Xα), where α =T1/T2. Tests measured the stability of the DOSS micelles when exposed to a continuous UVA radiation. This photodegradation is directly related to the duration of exposure.

Key words

crude oil surfactant DOSS 


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Copyright information

© Korea Ocean Research & Development Institute (KORDI) and the Korean Society of Oceanography (KSO) and Springer Netherlands 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • David A. Steffy
    • 1
  • Alfred C. Nichols
    • 1
  • George Kiplagat
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Physical and Earth SciencesJacksonville State UniversityJacksonvilleUSA

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