Evaporation control research, 1959-60

Water Supply Paper 1692




Two hundred and forty-five dispersions of long-chain alkanols were formulated by using various emulsifiers and alkanols. The dispensing and spreading ability of each of these formulations was tested. The most promising emulsifier that could be used with any of the alkanols was glyceryl monostearate (self-emulsifying). However, the concentration of the alkanol in the dispersion form varied somewhat: with the length of the carbon chain. A maximum concentration of 16 percent was obtained using the longer chain alkanols in the dispersion form without losing any of the properties of a fluid. Nine field tests were undertaken on small stock tanks. The retardant materials used in these tests were dodecanol, hexadecanol, and octadecanol. These materials were applied in either liquid or dispersion form. Four types of dispensing equipment were tested. The first type used a pressure system which sprayed a liquid onto the surface of the water. An anemometer and wind-controlled vane, operated by an electrical system, determined the length End frequency of application. The second type was similar to the first except that gravity was utilized to force the liquid onto the surface. The third type. used a drip system with rates of about 10 drops per minute. The fourth type used a gravity feed and a wind-controlled valve which allowed the dispersion material to flow onto the surface of the water when the wind was in the proper direction. In the field tests, the best reduction in evaporation was obtained using octadecanol in dispersion form and dispensed with the wind-controlled valve and gravity feed system. The maximum reduction in evaporation for a 2-week period was 27 percent. However, the economics of suppressing evaporation from stock tanks is questionable because of the short travel time across the tank by the film. There are still many problems unsolved. Some of these can be resolved in the laboratory whereas others can be resolved only in the field. Some of the more serious problems are the effect of impurities in the alkanols; the rate of cooling of the alkanol from a liquid to a solid state ; the effect of the film on the exchange of water molecules between the air and water; whether the film remains effective in suppressing evaporation for any rate of movement downwind; and the possible use of dodecanol and eicosanol as suppressants.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Evaporation control research, 1959-60
Series title:
Water Supply Paper
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Govt. Print. Off.,
2 v. :illus. ;24 cm.