What actually is oil? Oil is or was originally made of organic material, like plankton. When the plankton dies it sinks to the sea floor. Over time it becomes part of the many layers of sedimentary rock that form there. Lots and lots of layers build up putting pressure on the lower layers, turning them into petroleum. If there is enough heat and pressure it will turn into crude oil.Crude oil is made up of different carbon-based fractions.
These can be extracted using a fractionising column. All these fractions have different boiling points, this means that when heated, certain parts of the crude oil will evaporate and can therefore be collected by condensing it. This means that if you know the certain boiling points of each fraction you can separate the certain fraction you need, which is used for different products. This is known as fractional distillation.This shows the different heat at which some of the fractions boil at. As you can see the boiling points range from 20? to 400?. The different boiling points are important because this means that you can separate out the crude oil for the desired separate fraction.
Some of the fractions are; Kerosene- a liquid hydrocarbon usually used to power aircraft or for heating. Naphtha- this is used to create a high octane gasoline. The higher the octane rating, the more energy is needed to start a reaction. However, the higher the octane rating the less likely it is to explode.
Naphtha has a carbon-carbon bond, which means that the bonds have a lot more energy stored in them. So when combustion occurs, this energy in the bonds is converted to heat energy, an endothermic reaction.These different fractions can have a number of different uses. Mainly fuels but can be turned into plastics. These plastics are classed under thermoplastic or thermoset plastics.Thermoplastics are different from thermoset plastics because they can be re-heated and melted, then formed into a new shape. These plastics can, therefore, be recycled.
Polypropylene is an example of one of them.Thermoset plastics can cure to a stronger form. The energy may be in the form of heat (generally above 200 degrees Celsius), through a chemical reaction or irradiation. The curing transforms the resin into rubber or plastic by cross-linking. This makes it rigid. A thermoset material cannot be melted and re-shaped after it is cured.
Epoxy Resin (an adhesive) is an example of a thermoset plastic.Example of fuels created from the different fractions includes kerosene or natural gas.Everything has disadvantages and advantages.
Oil is no different. Some disadvantages include; it is not renewable, this means that once we have used it up, there will be no more left(that we can create) This means that an alternative will have to be found, but seeing as we are so dependent on oil, this may be a hard switch. But the main disadvantage is the fact that the combustion and use of oil and its derivatives, is that it cause pollution. Pollution damages the environment. The burning of these hydrocarbons releases carbon dioxide, which causes global warming.
When it is released into the atmosphere it forms a layer around the earth. As the sun’s heat and energy enters the atmosphere it usually bounces of the earth and goes back out into space. But because of the carbon dioxide it blocks the sun’s energy bouncing back out to space. So the energy stays in the earth heating it up more. This cause climate change/ global warming.If the heat does continue to rise the ice caps will melt, so the sea level will rise.
It is estimated that places like Florida and London will be flooded by this. Sea level will rise by about 7 meters. When some of the hydrocarbons a used they release harmful gases into the air, some are acidic like sulphur dioxide, so when it rains it creates acid rain which has a harmful effect on animal, plants and buildings. Recently oil prices have rocketed due the fact that it has almost ran out, increase in demand and trouble in some of the main oil suppliers. It is almost $100 a barrel now.But there are some advantages: for example they have a simple combustion process, that is used to create heat (so can produce electricity). Also these Products are easily distributed around the world.As I said before, oil is soon to run out.
The US and oil companies say that there is long way to go till that time, and that there are about 2-2.7 trillion barrels left, whereas others believe there is only 1 trillion left. If there are 2-2.
7 trillion barrels left, the end of oil lies somewhere in the 2030s and we have time to produce an alternative. If there are 1 trillion barrels left, the topping-out point is as close as 2008, plus or minus two years. ( http://www.prospect-magazine.co.uk/article_details.
php?id=7156) Another source states that “The latest measurements confirm that the world’s oil and natural gas supplies are running out too fast. At some time between 2010 and 2020 the world’s supply of oil and gas will fall below the level required to meet international demand.” (http://www.theinsider.org/news/article.
asp?id=0423) http://www.scienceonline.co.uk/energy/nonrenewable.html Belive that oil will last for another 20 years.
If we did run out of oil, I believe, that we would find it very hard to cope because; we would have no way to power out lives, no electricity, no cars, none of anything that we are used. The change from one thing, that has been around for at least 100 years, to something new and different would be very hard. But it is also a good thing because this means the carbon levels in the atmosphere would be able to change back to normal, so ending the threat of a climate catastrophe.From this I hope that I have shown; how oil is formed, what can be obtained from crude oil, advantages and disadvantages of using oil, when oil is possible to run out and the different oil products.