Crude oil

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  • Crude oil
    • Fossil fuels
      • Fossil fuels are finite resources.
        • They are no longer being made/being made really slowly.
      • Problems: They will get used up in the future. Difficult finding replacements.
    • Fractional distillation
      • Crude oil is a mixture of oils. They are all hydro carbons.
        • A hydrocarbon is made up of molecules containing carbon and hydrogen only.
      • Crude oil is heated at the bottom of the fractionating column.
      • Bitumen is the thick liquid at the bottom. It has a very high boiling point. It exits at the bottom of the colomn.
      • Other fractions boil and their gases rise up the column. The column is cooler at the top. Fractions with lower boiling points exit towards the top of the column.
      • Crude oil can be separated because the hydrocarbons in different fraction have differently sized molecules.
        • The forces between the molecules are intermolecular forces and are broken during boiling.
        • The molecules of the liquid separate from each other as molecules of gas.
        • Large molecules have strong forces of attraction. A lot of energy is needed to break the forces between the molecules. these fractions have high boiling points.
        • Smaller molecules have weak attractive forces between them and are easily separated. less energy is needed to break the forces. These fractions have low boiling points.
    • Problems in extracting crude oil
      • Oil slicks can damage birds feathers and cause their deaths. Clean up operations use detergents that can damage wildlife.
      • Political problems.
        • The UK is dependent on oil and gas from politically unstable countries. Oil-producing nations can set high prices and cause problems for the future supply of non-oil producing nations
    • Cracking
      • Cracking is a process that turns large alkane molecules into smaller alkane and alkene molecules.
      • Alkanes have double bonds, this makes it useful to make polymers.
      • Cracking helps make petrol.


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