What is the process used to separate petroleum into different fractions?

1 Answer
Aug 28, 2017

Answer:

The process is called fractional distillation.

Explanation:

Fractional distillation is the use of distillation to separate a liquid mixture into different parts (fractions) that differ in boiling point.

The substances in crude oil have different boiling points, so they can be separated by fractional distillation.

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The crude oil is heated to about 600 °C, and its vapours are allowed to condense at different temperatures in the fractionating column.

The temperatures in the column range from about 600 °C at the bottom to 20 °C at the top.

Substances with high boiling points condense at the bottom, while those with low boiling points condense at the top.

Each fraction contains hydrocarbon molecules with a similar number of carbon atoms.