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Boardworks Ltd 2006

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Boardworks Ltd 2006

What is crude oil?


Crude oil is a fossil fuel and one of the most important
substances in the world. It is a mixture of hundreds of
different compounds.
Crude oil is used to make
fuels for transport, heating
and generating electricity.
It is also used to make
plastics and hundreds of
different types of chemicals.
Every day, the world uses over 70 million barrels of oil. If you
filled bath tubs with this amount of oil and put them end-toend, they would stretch round the Earth 7.5 times!
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How did oil save the whales?


How did oil help to reduce whale hunting in the 19th century?

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Crude oil: a brief history


The modern oil industry began in
the mid-19th century when
kerosene was distilled from
crude oil and used as a cheap
and clean-burning fuel for lamps.
Gasoline was a by-product in
kerosene production, and was initially used as a solvent.
It wasnt until the development of the internal combustion
engine and gasoline-powered cars in the late 19th century
that gasoline became highly valuable.
This led to a great increase in the demand for crude oil, which
has continued to this day.
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How was crude oil made?


Crude oil is thought to have been
made from the remains of marine
plants and animals that died
millions of years ago.
These remains sank to the
bottom of the sea, where they
were buried in layers of sand and
mud, preventing them from rotting. These
layers gradually became sedimentary rock.
Over millions of years the layers of rock built up, increasing
the heat and pressure. This caused the remains to be broken
down into the molecules that form crude oil and natural gas.
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Hydrocarbons in crude oil


Many compounds in crude oil only contain the elements
carbon and hydrogen. They are called hydrocarbons.

Most hydrocarbons in crude oil are compounds called


alkanes. Alkanes contain a single chain of carbon atoms
with hydrogen atoms bonded along the side.
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What are alkanes?


Alkanes are a family of hydrocarbon compounds with the
general formula CnH2n+2.
The simplest alkane is methane.
It has the formula CH4.

The second simplest alkane is


ethane. It has the formula C2H6.

The third simplest alkane is


propane. It has the formula C3H8.
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Where in the world is crude oil?

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Finding crude oil at sea


Crude oil is often found trapped in rocks of the sea bed.
Oil rigs or drilling
platforms are used to
drill through the sea
bed to obtain the oil.
Once the oil has been
removed from the sea
bed, it is pumped in long
pipelines to an oil tanker
terminal or an oil refinery
on land.

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When will crude oil run out?


It is difficult to say when crude oil
will run out because no-one knows
exactly how much oil there is left in
the world.
There are over 1 trillion (1 million
million) barrels of crude oil in
proven oil reserves
At current rates, this will last about 44 years, but the amount
of oil used in the world increases each year.
Some scientists believe there is a lot more oil still to find, but
others think that most oil has already been discovered.
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Problems with crude oil


Crude oil is extremely useful but it has several drawbacks:
Burning the products of crude oil as fuel produces gases
and particles that contribute to global warming and air
pollution.
Removing oil from the
ground, as well as oil
spillages and slicks, can be
very damaging to wildlife
and the environment.
The high value of oil means it is sometimes the cause of
military conflict, especially because a large amount of oil
comes from countries that are politically unstable.
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How can crude oil be made useful?


Crude oil itself has no uses it must first be processed or
refined. This is done in an oil refinery.
The first step is to
separate
compounds in the
oil into groups
called fractions.
Each fraction
contains a mix of
compounds with
a similar number
of carbon atoms.
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Molecule size and boiling point


Molecules in crude oil can contain anything from just
1 carbon atom to well over 50.
The more carbon atoms in a hydrocarbon molecule, the
larger the molecule. How does this affect its boiling point?
Generally, the larger a hydrocarbon,
the higher its boiling point.
This is because the intermolecular forces between large
molecules are stronger than the intermolecular forces
between small molecules.
More energy is needed to break the forces between large
molecules, and so the boiling point is higher.
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Boiling point of alkanes

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What is fractional distillation?


Fractional distillation is a process used to separate a
mixture of liquids that have different boiling points.
When the mixture is heated, liquids with a low
boiling point evaporate and turn to vapour.
Liquids with a higher boiling point remain
as liquid. The vapour can then be
separated from the liquid.
Fractional distillation is used to separate
crude oil into fractions with different
boiling points. It can be done industrially
and in the laboratory.
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Fractional distillation of crude oil


Crude oil is separated into fractions by fractional distillation.
1. Oil is heated to about 450 C and pumped
into the bottom of a tall tower called a
fractionating column, where it vaporizes.
2. The column is very hot at the bottom but
much cooler at the top. As the vaporized oil
rises, it cools and condenses.
3. Heavy fractions (containing large molecules)
have a high boiling point and condense near
the bottom of the column.
4. Lighter fractions (containing small molecules)
have a lower boiling point and condense
further up the column.
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How does fractional distillation work?

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Fractional distillation in the lab


Fractional distillation
of crude oil can be
done in the
laboratory by
heating crude oil
and collecting the
vapour produced
at different
temperatures.

fractions collected
previously (at lower
temperatures)

mineral wool
soaked in
crude oil
cooling water
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Order of fractions

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Supply and demand


The amount of each type of fraction obtained by fractional
distillation does not usually match the amount of each
fraction that is needed.
Crude oil often contains more
heavier fractions than lighter
fractions. Lighter fractions are
more useful and therefore
more desirable.
The large hydrocarbon molecules
in the heavier fractions can be
broken down into smaller, more
useful, molecules to meet demand
for raw materials for fuels and plastics.
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Catalytic cracking
Large hydrocarbon molecules can be broken down into
smaller molecules using a catalyst. This is called catalytic
cracking, and is an example of a thermal decomposition
reaction.
The hydrocarbon molecules are
heated until they turn into
vapour, and then mixed with a
catalyst. The molecules break
apart, forming smaller alkanes
and alkenes.
Alkenes are reactive molecules
that are used to make plastics and
other chemicals.
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What are alkenes?


Alkenes are a family of hydrocarbon compounds with the
general formula CnH2n.
Alkenes are very similar to alkanes, but they have one
important difference: they contain at least one double
covalent bond between carbon atoms.
The simplest alkene is ethene.
It has the formula C2H4.
The second simplest alkene is
propene. It has the formula
C3H6.
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Cracking decane
Decane from the naphtha fraction can be cracked to form
pentane (for use in petrol), propene and ethene.
decane
(C10H22)

+
pentane
(C5H12)
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propene
(C3H6)

ethene
(C2H4)
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Saturated vs. unsaturated


Alkanes are examples of saturated compounds.
A saturated compound only contains single
covalent bonds between carbon atoms.
Alkenes are examples of unsaturated compounds.
An unsaturated compound contains at least one
double covalent bond between carbon atoms.
A test to distinguish between saturated and unsaturated
compounds is to add red bromine water. In the presence of
unsaturated compounds, the red colour disappears.
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How does catalytic cracking work?

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Catalytic cracking in the lab


Catalytic cracking can be done in the laboratory by heating
mineral wool soaked in oil with a catalyst, producing a gas.
aluminium
oxide catalyst

gaseous product

mineral wool
soaked in oil
What might this gas be?
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Removing impurities
An important step in refining is removing impurities from
fractions. These can damage equipment that uses the
fraction, and cause pollution.
One of the most
important impurities to
remove is sulfur. When
burnt, this forms the gas
sulfur dioxide, which
causes acid rain.
Other impurities that need to be removed include nitrogen,
oxygen, water and dissolved metals.
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True or false?

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Glossary (1/2)
alkanes A family of hydrocarbon molecules with the
general formula CnH2n+2.

alkenes A family of hydrocarbon molecules with the


general formula CnH2n.

catalytic cracking A reaction where a large molecule


is broken down into smaller molecules in the presence of a
catalyst.

crude oil A naturally-occurring mixture of different-sized


hydrocarbon molecules.

fraction A mixture of hydrocarbon molecules of a similar


size.
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Glossary (2/2)
fractional distillation The process used to separate
crude oil into different fractions.

hydrocarbon A molecule containing only hydrogen and


carbon.

saturated A compound that only contains single covalent


bonds between carbon atoms.

unsaturated A compound that has at least one double


covalent bond between carbon atoms.

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Anagrams

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The stages of fractional distillation

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Multiple-choice quiz

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