Crude oil, one of the world's most valuable and most widely traded products, has far more uses than simply powering vehicles. Raw crude is practically useless. It must undergo a process called fractioning to turn it into the products people use every day. In fractioning, the crude oil is heated; at different temperatures, the oil separates into its component parts.
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At 600 degrees Celsius, residue comes off the oil. This residue is most commonly called bitumen. It's a component of road tarmac and roofing materials.
The next layer of crude oil removed is the fuel, or heavy gas, oil. This is used as fuel for ships and in central heating systems.
Many products used around the home use crude oil as their base. They include lubricating oils used on bicycle chains, and polishes and waxes in cleaning products.
As the oil cools in the fractioning process, diesel oil is created. Diesel fuel powers cars, trucks, trains and factory machinery.
Once the oil cools to around 120 degrees Celsius, raw kerosene is produced. In the past, kerosene was converted into paraffin for lighting and heating. Today its most common use is in jet fuel.
The best-known crude oil product, gasoline used in automobiles, is removed from raw crude oil when the oil reaches a temperature of around 70 degrees Celsius.
This carcinogenic substance, commonly used in chemicals, is the most volatile byproduct of crude oil. Cleaning solvents, shoe polish and furniture polish are the most common household products made using naphtha.
Liquefied Petroleum Gas
The final product that is extracted from crude oil, liquefied petroleum gas is collected and stored under pressure. This gas is most commonly found in canisters used with gas barbecue grills. It's also used to power cars as an alternative to gasoline.
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