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ST ANTHONY’S CANOSSIAN SECONDARY SCHOOL

CHEMISTRY

NAME : ___________________________ ( ) CLASS : DATE : _________

T OPIC : F UELS (Notes)

Syllabus Objectives :
(a) Name natural gas, mainly methane, and petroleum as sources of energy.
(b) Describe petroleum as a mixture of hydrocarbons and its separation into
useful fractions by fractional distillation.
(c) Name the following fractions and state their uses
(i) Petrol (gasoline) as a fuel in cars;
(ii) Naphtha as feedstock for the chemical industry;
(iii) Paraffin (kerosene) as a fuel for heating and cooking and for
aircraft engines;
(iv) Diesel as a fuel for diesel engines;
(v) Lubricating oils as lubricants and as a source of polishes and
waxes;
(vi) Bitumen for making road surfaces.
(d) State that naphtha fraction from crude oil is the main source of
hydrocarbons used as the feedstock for the production of a wide range of
organic compounds.
(e) Describe the issues relating to the competing uses of oil as an energy
source and as a chemical feedstock.

♦ Coal, petroleum and natural gas are all known as fossil fuels.

♦ Fossil fuels are described as non- renewable energy sources – once they are used
up, they cannot be replaced (fossil fuels took millions of years to form).

♦ Coal –
 Mainly carbon, with small amounts of other elements;
 Formed from the remains of dead plants.

♦ Natural gas –
 Found together with petroleum
 Consists mainly of methane, CH4 (a hydrocarbon)

♦ Petroleum –
 Also known as crude oil, found together with natural gas
 Is a mixture of hydrocarbons (compounds containing ONLY the elements
hydrogen and carbon )
 Of little use before it is refined;
 used mainly (1) as fuel; (2) as raw materials for other products eg. plastics,
detergents

Fractional distillation of Petroleum

♦ Petroleum is a mixture of hydrocarbons molecules of different sizes – the small


molecules have few carbon atoms and low boiling points; the large molecules have
many carbon atoms and high boiling points.
♦ Fractional distillation therefore makes use of the fact that the compounds composed
of longer carbon chains, require more heat and higher temperatures to vaporize
than compounds of shorter chains.
 the crude oil is heated and becomes a vapour;
 the rising vapour moves through the gaps in the trays and condenses on the
bubble caps;
 more hot vapour rises and bubbles through the liquid (in the trays) and
reboils it;
 each tray is a little cooler than the one below it as it is further away from the
source;
 after some time, substances of low boiling point reach the top of the tower;
those of higher boiling point are nearer the bottom.

♦ Small scale fractional distillation of petroleum:

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Properties & Uses of the different Fractions

♦ All fractions are insoluble in water and burn in air;


♦ As their boiling points increase, the following changes take place:
 Molecules become bigger (more carbon atoms);
 The liquids flow less easily (become more viscous );
 They burn less easily;
 When they burn the burn with a more sooty flame.

♦ Some fractions are more useful than others – greater demand for petrol and diesel,
than for lubricating oils or bitumen.
♦ The process of converting the heavy fractions of larger molecules into smaller, more
useful lighter fractions is calledcracking ; suitable catalysts used for the process are
powdered aluminium oxide or silicon dioxide.
Eg. C6H14(l) → C4H10(g) + C2H4 (g)
Cracking can also produce hydrogen gas, and provides an important industrial source
of hydrogen : eg. C10H22(l) → H2(g) + C4H8 (g) + C6H12 (g)

Petroleum to be used as an energy source or chemical feedstock?

♦ Only a limited amount of petroleum in the earth – wasteful to simply burn it away?
Reserved for making chemicals (plastics, drugs and other chemicals)?
♦ Possible solution – find alternative source of fuels.

Further Reading:
http://www.howstuffworks.com/oil-refining.htm