Wednesday April 16 2014
Science Photo Answer #850

Science photo 850

I photographed this oil refinery in New Mexico. How do they make gasoline from crude oil?


Crude oil is actually a mixture of many different hydrocarbon chemicals. Refineries use fractional distillation to separate those chemicals. The crude oil is slowly heated under controlled conditions. Different chemicals in the mixture vaporize at different temperatures, so by collecting the vapors at specific temperatures, you can condense the vapor into either gasoline, kerosene, diesel oil, etc.

Gasoline is also produced by a process known as cracking. Heat (thermal cracking) and chemical reactions (catalytic cracking) are used to break larger, less useful hydrocarbon molecules into smaller molecules of gasoline, kerosene, etc.

Latest Science Photo

Latest Free Video

Latest Premium Video


Latest Experiment


Marbles, Inertia, and Paper Plates

This Week's Science Spotlight

States of Matter
Text : Cool Spray
Text : Slippery and Sticky Ice
Text : More Cooling
Text : Dew on the Window
Video : Why We Sweat :

Some FREE Videos

Recent Additions

Recently Added Pages

20 hours 40 min ago
20 hours 43 min ago
20 hours 47 min ago
20 hours 49 min ago
20 hours 53 min ago
20 hours 56 min ago
20 hours 59 min ago
21 hours 1 min ago
21 hours 4 min ago
21 hours 7 min ago