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Basics of Crude Oil.

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BASICS OF CRUDE OIL Crude oil is a mixture of hydrocarbon molecules, which are organic compounds of carbon and hydrogen atoms that may include from one to 60 carbon atoms. The properties of hydrocarbons depend on the number and arrangement of the carbon and hydrogen atoms in the molecules. The simplest hydrocarbon molecule is one carbon atom linked with four hydrogen atoms: methane. All other variations of petroleum hydrocarbons evolve from this molecule. Hydrocarbons containing up to four carbon atoms are usually gases; those with five to 19 carbon atoms are usually liquids; and those with 20 or more are solids. The refining process uses chemicals, catalysts, heat, and pressure to separate and combine the basic types of hydrocarbon molecules naturally found in crude oil into groups of similar molecules. The refining process also rearranges their structures and bonding patterns into different hydrocarbon molecules and compounds. Therefore it is the type of hydrocarbon, (paraffinic, naphthenic, or aromatic) ...read more.


Aside from contaminant minerals such as sulfur and small amounts of trace metals which are removed during refining. Petroleum is composed of hydrocarbons, essentially varying combinations of carbon and hydrogen atoms; any hydrocarbon can be converted into any other given the appropriate application of energy, chemistry and technology. The smaller the molecule and the lower the ratio of carbon to hydrogen, the lighter the hydrocarbon, the lower the evaporation temperature, and, usually, the more valuable the product. Every crude oil contains a mix of these different hydrocarbons, and the two tasks of a refinery are to separate them out into usable products and to convert the less desirable hydrocarbons into more valuable ones.The tall metal towers that characterize petroleum refineries are distillation, or fractionating, towers. Distillation is the primary method used to refine petroleum. When the heated crude oil is fed into the lower part of a tower, the lighter oil portions, or fractions, vaporize. ...read more.


The two most critical specifications of residual fuels are viscosity and low sulfur content for environmental control. COKE AND ASPHALT Coke is almost pure carbon with a variety of uses from electrodes to charcoal briquets. Asphalt, used for roads and roofing materials, must be inert to most chemicals and weather conditions. SOLVENTS A variety of products, whose boiling points and hydrocarbon composition are closely controlled, are produced for use as solvents. These include benzene, toluene, and xylene. PETROCHEMICALS Many products derived from crude oil refining such as ethylene, propylene, butylene, and isobutylene are primarily intended for use as petrochemical feedstocks in the production of plastics, synthetic fibers, synthetic rubbers, and other products. LUBRICANTS Special refining processes produce lubricating oil base stocks. Additives such as demulsifiers, antioxidants, and viscosity improvers are blended into the base stocks to provide the characteristics required for motor oils, industrial greases, lubricants, and cutting oils. The most critical quality for lubricating-oil base stock is a high viscosity index, which provides for greater consistency under varying temperatures ...read more.

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