Chemistry problem help?

Their was an oil spill some time in the past. Until now, the well has released somewhere between 25,000,000 to 210,000,000 gallons of oil and it covered 6500km^2 of water in the Gulf of Mexico.

a) Using your knowledge of solubility, explain why very little of the spilt oil has dissolved water.

b) Another oil spill took place in Alaska released 30,000,000 gallons of oil into the pacific ocean. Is the oil in the Alaskan spill more soluble compared to the spill in the Gulf of Mexico? What factor that affects solubility would likely be involved.

The numbers are largely irrelevant.


*meant to say "has dissolved IN the water" on question a)"

1 Answer

  • 6 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    ooh nice I love chemistry :]

    a) Very little of the oil has dissolved in water, for oil is a non polar molecule, while water is polar. This makes oil insoluble in water. Some oil could have dissolved into the water due to the high temperature, as solubility increases with temperature.This is because the molecules gain more energy and can separate more easily. I could go deeper into this, but it looks like this is only highschool chemistry and that is probably all they are looking for. If we wanted, we would go into how the dipole-dipole forces of the water molecule do not attract the nonpolar ends of the oil molecules.

    b) The oil in the spill that took place in Alaska is actually less soluble than the oil from the spill that took place in the Gulf of Mexico, as the lower temperature would have made it way less soluble when compared to a place with high temperatures such as the Gulf of mexico. The factor that affects solubility that would likely be involved is temperature.

    Nice Question :]

    • Liquin6 years agoReport

      Awesome, I thought the temperature had something to do with it. Thanks, you're Too Cool. :)

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.