In order to obtain a scientifically-acceptable measurement of dispersant effectiveness, the oil mass balance must be demonstrated. While this is normal in small-scale laboratory apparatus, it has not been achieved in larger-scale wave basin and open ocean experiments despite the work of a large number of research groups. Five years ago, mass balance was either ignored or losses of up to fifty percent of the applied oil were accepted. In the larger wave basin experiments, recent work has reduced the unknown losses to between ten and fifteen percent. No such reduction has been achieved in the few open ocean tests that have been recently undertaken.

This paper will discuss the limitation of current measuring technologies and experimental techniques. New experimental techniques will be suggested to improve mass balance calculations, such as changing the experimental plan for large wave basins from a Lagrangian description of motion to an Eulerian frame of reference. There are technologies, that can be applied to large wave basins, that are unique to this experimental situation, but are not widely used. These technologies will be discussed.

For the open ocean situation, there are seldomly-used methods, which could be employed to improve the measurement of sub-surface plume characteristics and oil thickness on water. The current limitations of these technologies will be discussed.

This content is only available as a PDF.