Public Lab Research note

Week 3: Recap from Oil Testing Kit Beta Program weekly chat

by warren | October 14, 2015 18:27 | 35 views | 3 comments | #12302 | 35 views | 3 comments | #12302 14 Oct 18:27

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Hi, all -- we had a quick chat today and folks are preparing samples and troubleshooting the scanning process. Please post your data as you go, and/or ask for help on the spectrometry list (see in sidebar to left)!



We noticed that the procedure described in the wiki did not go into detail about how and when to dilute samples, which can help if they are too dark for the fluorescing light to make it through:

The gist is, you may need to dilute crude oil or its density will actually dim the fluorescence it produces. Be aware! You can read about my own dilution documentation in the test I did some time ago.

I also added an explicit step to scan pure mineral oil, so that you can confirm that it does not fluoresce.

baby oil

Baby oil

Last week, we talked about alternatives to mineral oil as a solvent. At LEAFFEST 2015, we explored some possible problems with baby oil, if it has added vitamin E -- and linked back to some old research about how vitamin E can occur in fish oil, complicating scans for polyaromatic hydrocarbons there. Neat stuff; read about it here.

Finally, it sounds like some folks are having some lingering assembly and calibration issues -- please don't struggle in obscurity! Post and ask questions here in the comments, or on the spectrometry list!

Thanks, and hope to see some uploaded sample scans soon! Remember to tag them oil-testing-kit and good luck!

The transcript of the chat follows:


@eustatic, @cquijano84, @Tofu, @ronhuber, @norby, @uprmotero, @Craig, @tmccaffr, @Charles_Hamilton, @mahsa, @JayB, @MelissaN, @LKStendie, @wsg, @zhughbanks, @JeanellSullivan, @Webstertiums, @emilycheung17, @ethanbass, @Cindy_ExCiteS, @chongyukwai, @drocheleau, @gracecagle, @Bluemountainsurfer, @matej

hi folks, adding @matej into this list. Here in NYC we are having a visit to Department of Environmental Conservation tomorrow to meet with Randy W. Austin, who is the Chief, Spill Response Program, Region 2 (NY City), Division of Environmental Remediation. He has volunteered to explain the "haz cat" procedures manual and some simple sampling methods that people can use in the field. We will share our notes and photos!

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Here's the thread from the NY-NY local list:!topic/plots-nyc/X9hc3JD7-nE

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