Petroleum is the Latin word used for rock and oil with the literal meanings of “oil from rocks” and petrochemicals are the products obtain after refining crude oil via catalytic cracking and fractional distillation. Being a derivative derived from different resources via a diverse range of refining processes, their physical and chemical properties differ from each other. Petroleum obtained from ores serves as the primary precursor to make a broad range of products. Unprocessed material is a dark colored viscous mixture, which is filtered and refined to synthesize a wide variety of products. Diesel, asphalt, kerosene, gasoline; paraffin wax, lubricating agent and LPG are the few examples of the products obtained from raw oil.
What is the extraction process?
After extraction from the Earth’s crust, the untreated mixture is transported to refineries to separate different kinds of compounds. Due to different boiling points they are easily sieve out and collected via fractional distillation. Highly volatile compounds boil first at low temperatures of 70 degrees Fahrenheit. However, heaviest compounds with minimum volatility boil at temperature of more than 750 degrees Fahrenheit.
As petrochemicals are obtained from different kinds of crude oils and refining processes, they are classified into three major types.
This class usually includes bottled fuel and raw materials to use further in the synthesis of organic chemicals. Ethylene, methane and ethane are the lightest products among all and remain gaseous at room temperatures. Natural gas (methane) is a perfect example of lighter derivatives, which is supplied to residential and commercial buildings after adding aroma to make it detectable. Ether and naphtha with boiling points of 80 and 190 degrees Fahrenheit respectively, are also listed in lighter byproducts.
Byproducts that are frequently used as automobile fuels are classified in the group of medium compound category. Gasoline with 6 and 12 carbons, kerosene with 12 to 15 carbons and Octane with 8 carbons are the few examples of derivatives belong to this group. Among them all octanes are considered best for automobiles. Although, gasoline is also mixed in specific ratios to improve its efficiency, whereas, kerosene is the perfect choice for heating, lighting and aviation fuels.
Petroleum derivatives that contain 15 and 18 carbons with highest boiling points of 570 and 750 degrees are identified as heavy derivatives. Key applications and uses include diesel as fuel, heating oils for buildings and lubricants for all kinds of engine and machineries. Bitumens are the heaviest products in this group which is used for waterproofing and road surfacing.
These are few major types of derivatives obtained from crude oils. Petrochemical companies possess all the necessary equipment to process petroleum and crude oils to deliver a range of products and feed stocks to synthesize several useful products.