Crude Oil

Topics: Petroleum, Carbon, Natural gas Pages: 4 (1459 words) Published: January 5, 2013
What is crude oil?

Crude oil is a naturally occurring liquid found inside certain rocks trapped beneath the Earth’s crust. It is dark and sticky, classified as a hydrocarbon, or rather mixture of hydrocarbons. We separate them in order to make something useful during a process called fractional distillation. Since it is highly flammable and can be burned to make energy, it is used as a major fuel source on our planet. This oil is a fossil fuel, what means that there is a limited supply of it in the Earth’s crust and since it takes so long for it to form it is a non-renewable fuel. It is believed that millions of years ago, many microscopic animals and plants died and fell to the bottom of the ocean. There, they were cover by layers upon layers of mud and by high temperature and pressure it started turning into rock. The remains of plants and animals inside were ‘cooked’ into what we now call crude oil. We use crude oil for a wide variety of other products than fuel such as asphalt for roads, tires, crayons, lubricants for machines, plastic, bottles and food wrappers. Some people may think that oil is a simple homogenous substance without any unique differentiations but in fact, crude oil ranges from very light weight and volatile fluid to thick, semi- solid weight. It doesn’t only range in weight but also in colors. It can range from light yellow to deepest dark. In order to classify them properly, since in different geographical locations the oil will have unique properties, people have agreed upon a classification due to the oils viscosity, volatility and toxicity. Viscosity refers to the oils slimines. The oils with higher viscosity are much harder to pump from the ground and rafine. Oils volatility depends on the ability of the oil to evaporate into air. If the volatility is too high, people have to take special precautions so they will during distillation lose as little oil as possible . Toxicity, as can be understood from the name,...
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