A device that detects a separation surface between oil and water.
When decanting slop tanks, an essential operation during LOT procedures, the height of the oil/water interface must be established in order to prevent the discharge of oil into the sea. Interface detectors are usually portable instruments, although permanently installed equipment is also used. International specifications have been established and only approved equipment may be used. The equipment, in this case a portable instrument, consists of a metal measuring tape, an ampere meter, a zinc weight and an earthing clamp to connect the equipment to the ship's structure. When the weight is suspended in salt water, galvanic action between the zinc and the steel structure of the ship generates an electric current, which is indicated on the meter. No current is generated when the zinc weight is suspended in oil. By lowering the zinc weight and measuring the height at which the current begins to flow it is possible to determine the interface. In practice, the weight is lowered through the oil into the water first to clean the oil from it. The weight is then raised until the current ceases, when it will again be at the interface.

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