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Science

Useful chemicals from crude oil

Refining crude oil

Crude oil is a mixture of many different chemicals, most of which are hydrocarbons. These are chain molecules of varying length that are made from hydrogen and carbon atoms only.

Three different hydrocarbon molecules

Crude oil is refined by the petrochemical industry. The hydrocarbons are separated into fractions of similar size. These fractions include fuels, such as petrol and diesel, lubricants and raw materials for chemical synthesis.

Most of the fractions from crude oil are burned as fuels. Only a small percentage of crude oil is used for chemical synthesis.

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