What I want to do
As part of Team Orca, I wanted to work on a method
to process tar balls cheaply for spectrometry to test for the presence of oil in sands to test that the oil in the sand is BP's oil.
I also wanted to build my first Public Lab Spectrometer. The spectrometry list is full of awesome suggestions I don't have time to really process or incorporate, and so I just slapped together the basic Public Lab spectrometer out of the box. And I think I read the directions incorrectly, but so it goes.
I spent a weekend with Dr. Courtney Kearney of NRL at Stennis, building the spectrometer and processing samples.
Jonathan Henderson and I collect tar balls from the Coasts of Louisiana and Alabama. The Coast Guard will no longer do regular cleanup of the Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida coasts. Louisiana has driven a harder bargain and maintained the response presence.
Soon, it will fall on Alabama's Department of Environmental Managment to clean up BP's tar balls, and we know that means much will not be cleaned up.
My attempt and results
I searched around to find the cuvettes Jeff uses, but could only find square glass dropper jars from Home Science Tools.
I got crappy gloves at Walgreens. I don't think these gloves are made for male hands.
The tar balls come from a February 2013 sampling trip that Johnathan Henderson conducted.
caption: grand isle tar balls and mineral oil, stirrer
**caption: getting ready to make samples into the cuvettes
**caption: stirred, shaken, wait a day, open the jar
**caption: make the first dilution. repeat for x100 dilution. the "x10" is very approximate.
**caption: an array of samples. the coal jar sample was not stirred well, will try again.
**caption: it's a lot of light, but we needed to blast the light through to get a signal