Performance testing of oil spill containment booms



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This thesis consists of a comprehensive study of oil spill containment boom performance. It includes results of full scale tests under controlled current, towing, and wave conditions in the laboratory; towing and wave tests in an offshore environment; and evaluations of boom performance in actual oil spill service. The text begins with an introduction into the basic oil spill problem, followed by a description of basic containment boom parameters, types of booms, and general usage. The containment booms are classified into three types; rigid, semi-flexible, and flexible, and the characteristics of each type are discussed. Next the test facilities are described and the procedures used in the testing program are reviewed. A detailed analysis of the test data and discussion of the test results follows. The results of tests on the three basic types of containment booms are analyzed, and the performance of each under varying conditions is discussed. Failure mechanisms are described and actual failure points in current, towing, and wave action are given. The last chapter reviews the generalized results of the tests, summarizes the limitations of each of the three types of booms, and discusses alternative methods of improving boom performance.