Crude oil

Crude oil is a mixture of hydrocarbons
  • Crude oil is an extremely valuable and increasingly scarce fossil fuel.
  • It is a complex mixture of hydrocarbons.
  • The composition of crude oil varies depending upon where in the world it comes from.
  • Crude oil is the principal raw material for the huge petrochemical industry which produces fuels, polymers, pharmaceuticals and many other products.

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5 b) Crude oil

Students will be assessed on their ability to:


5.6 understand that crude oil is a mixture of hydrocarbons
5.7 describe and explain how the industrial process of fractional distillation separates crude oil into fractions
5.8 recall the names and uses of the main fractions obtained from crude oil: refinery gases, gasoline, kerosene, diesel, fuel oil and bitumen
5.9 describe the trend in boiling point and viscosity of the main fractions
5.10 understand that incomplete combustion of fuels may produce carbon monoxide and explain that carbon monoxide is poisonous because it reduces the capacity of the blood to carry oxygen
5.11 understand that, in car engines, the temperature reached is high enough to allow nitrogen and oxygen from air to react, forming nitrogen oxides
5.12 understand that nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide are pollutant gases which contribute to acid rain, and describe the problems caused by acid rain
5.13 understand that fractional distillation of crude oil produces more long-chain hydrocarbons than can be used directly and fewer short-chain hydrocarbons than required and explain why this makes cracking necessary
5.14 describe how long-chain alkanes are converted to alkenes and shorter-chain alkanes by catalytic cracking, using silica or alumina as the catalyst and a temperature in the range of 600–700o
C.