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Crude oil and Hydrocarbons.

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Emma Powditch 12RP Crude oil and Hydrocarbons Crude oil is a complex mixture of hydrocarbons containing smaller quantities of sulphur, nitrogen and oxygen compounds. Hydrocarbons can form various structures according to the number of carbon atoms in the molecule; these can be straight chains, branched chains or closed rings. The main two chemical families are unsaturated (alkenes) and saturated (alkanes) hydrocarbons. Crude oil is obtained by pumping ancient deposits from the ground. Scientist theorises that plants and animals died and sank to the bottom of seas and other water, where sediment covered them. In the absence of air anaerobic bacteria are thought to have caused them to change to oil and natural gas. Crude oil is extremely viscous and has very little use in its original state, therefore the Gasoline, diesel, aviation fuel and oil are also liquid fuels derived from crude oil. Even the thick black residue, called bitumen has its uses for roofing and road surfacing. ...read more.


C(s) + O2(g) CO2 C(s) + O2 (g) CO Nitrogen and sulphur oxides can also be created due to the impurities of oil, which can fall as acid rain. Hydrocarbons can be manipulated in various ways to make them more valuable, either by cracking, reforming or isomerisation. Cracking breaks molecules down into smaller carbon chains. This is a starting point for the manufacture of many organics, including polymers and petrol. There are two types of cracking thermal and catalytic cracking. Thermal cracking heats the naphtha fraction, with steam at high temperature of around 800 OC and high pressure. This process creates a mixture of straight chain alkanes and alkenes, mostly ethane, creating minor proportions of branched and cyclic structures and H2 gas. Thermal cracking breaks C-C bonds by homolytic fission, forming free radicals. C10 H22 C8H18 + C2H4 C10 H22 C6H14 + 2C2H4 Alkane Alkane + Alkene Catalytic cracking processes heavy long chain fractions obtained in larger quantities than required. ...read more.


This immense power is used to drive water and turbines to generate electricity. There is no carbon or carbon related pollutants but the storage and treatment of radioactive waste is difficult and costly disasters are possible despite contentious safety controls. Personally I feel that the government or the general will only take action public when they are forced to by the oil reserves running out. To have a dramatic effect on the environment we must all make a conscious effort to reduce our energy wastage, but as the U.S have proved with their refusal to cut emissions along with Europe, some people refuse to comply. Recycling oil product will also preserve the oil reserves for a bit longer, although ultimately we must find other energy sources. I fear that it will be Chemistry 1 inevitable that this will contain nuclear power, despite its drawbacks. But still nuclear power is non renewable and surely the only way forward is to develop clean renewable fuel. ...read more.

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