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How does detergent affect the oil absorbency rate of Polypropylene Pads? Featured science projectScience project video


The results of the experiment show that detergents do interfere with the oil absorbency of polypropylene pads, though the difference is not very significant.

This experiment can help educate the public to be aware of the effect of detergents on the oil absorbency of polypropylene pads. In order to get the maximum oil absorbency out of the polypropylene pads, we should not mix the oil spills with detergents.

Oil spillages at seas create a lot of problems for marine life, birds and sea mammals. The layer of oil blocks sunlight from entering the water, thereby affecting the water plants and algae which help keep the seas oxygenated and provide food for the sea creatures respectively. In addition, the oil may get stuck in the wings of birds, thus resulting in them losing their ability to fly.

Also consider

Will temperature affect the absorbency of polypropylene pads?
Besides detergents, what other liquids might affect the absorbency of polypropylene pads?
What might happen if another type of oil was used instead of Engine oil?
Some other alternatives besides the detergents mentioned above are:
-    Dynamo
-    Kleen
-    Kleenex


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Complexity level:
Project cost ($):
Time required:
15 minutes preparation time, 15 minutes to observe
Material availability:
Polypropylene pads should be available at hardware shops. If not, students can purchase it in bulk from the supplier. Detergents are available in almost supermarket. Engine oil is available at nearby petrol kiosks and in some supermarkets/hardware stores.
Safety concerns:

Teacher supervision required. Beware of highly flammable oils. Gloves and safety goggles should be worn at all times for safety reasons.