STUDY OF CORN HUSK AS SORBENT FOR OIL SPILL CLEANUP
The use of lignocellulosic wastes as sorbents in oil spill cleanup is becoming of interest due to their ready availability, cheapness and biodegradability. In this study corn husk was used to remove Escravos crude oil from seawater. The investigations were carried out using five different particle size ranges (4000-1000, 1000-500, 500-105, 105-53 and <53 µm) of corn husk on three oil layer thicknesses (3, 4.5 and 6 mm) over water. The oil and water sorption characteristics of the lignocellulosic particles were obtained. The initial sorption rates of the sorbent in the first ten minutes were the highest with the three oil layer thicknesses investigated. The maximum sorption capacity for oil and water were recorded with 3mm oil layer by particle B (1000-500µm), at 40 minutes as 9.9719 g oil/g sorbent and 2.220 g water/g sorbent respectively. The 9.9719g/g maximum oil sorption capacity recorded is indicative of crude oil sorption potential of corn husk as it falls within the 6 to 30 g/g range commonly recorded for natural sorbents like sugar cane bagasse, raw cotton, kapok, hog moss and barley straw. When 4.5 and 6 mm oil layer thickness were used, the maximum sorption capacity obtained were 6.7272g/g and 5.3386g/g respectively. No water sorption was recorded by the sorbent on 4.5 and 6 mm oil layers. The oil sorption kinetic model of raw corn husk particle was of inverse (decaying) exponential form (q = a (1 – e-t)); this indicates a diffusion sorption mechanism.