Diesel is one of the most common fuels, used all around the world for powering machines and equipment.
Because it poses a risk to health, it’s important to be aware of the natural processes that can impact this fuel in order to minimise potential hazards.
Can spilled diesel evaporate?
Evaporation can be described as the process of any liquid turning to vapour at a lower temperature than its boiling point.
To answer the question ‘does spilled diesel evaporate?’, diesel fuel does have the potential to evaporate but at a slower rate than other fuels. The reason why diesel takes longer to evaporate is because it is thicker. When it does evaporate, the physical properties of diesel are also altered.
Furthermore, the lowest temperature at which diesel evaporates near a heat source is its flashpoint. The flashpoint of diesel is 52-82 degrees Celsius.
Even though diesel evaporates, it is still necessary to clean it up because diesel spills will not disappear on their own immediately.
How long after diesel is spilled does it evaporate?
There is no set time it takes for diesel evaporate when it is spilled.
There are numerous factors that impact the evaporation rate, including temperature, wind speed, humidity and the size of the spill.
For example, higher temperatures can speed up the evaporation process because the fuel molecules acquire more energy to break free from the liquid’s surface.
Wind speed is also important to consider because it helps to spread the vaporised fuel molecules, decreasing the concentration of fuel vapour close to the liquid surface, which enables a higher level of rapid dissipation.
In addition, when there is high humidity, moisture in the air means that it is harder for diesel fuel molecules to evaporate.
It is crucial to note that diesel spills on the ground will take more time to evaporate than if the spill happened on the water. Given it is lighter than water, and floats on it, diesel evaporates at a faster rate.
When diesel spills from a tank, it will also evaporate at a faster rate. This is because the tank contains less air, and when this type of fuel comes into contact with the air, it evaporates more quickly. To put it another way, the tank formed a barrier between the diesel and the atmosphere, and when this is removed, it can be dangerous.
Typically, if a minor diesel spill has occurred, which is around 500-5000 gallons, it is normal for it to evaporate and disappear within a day.
Meanwhile, larger spills may take a number of days, or even weeks, to evaporate completely.
However, even a small diesel spill has the potential to cause a lot of harm. For example, diesel can be extremely flammable, meaning that it can transform into a fire hazard very quickly.
Getting professional assistance
Even if a diesel spill has evaporated, there are elements of the fuel that can linger in the soil or water for a long time afterwards. This can cause damage to the environment and contribute to health issues.
Therefore, it is important to follow the appropriate safety procedures and make contact with a professional.
When it comes to fuel spills, DHI Excavations are clean-up experts dedicated to delivering high-quality and efficient services.
Why not reach out to the team today?