What is it for?

Many products can be obtained from oil, ranging from some of the most common fuels (petrol, gas-oil and other by-products of oil) to many of the plastic materials used by mankind. The simple hydrocarbons that compose oil are, in fact, the main raw materials needed to produce plastic materials with specific features: resilience, plasticity, hardness, flexibility, biodegradability, sturdiness, adherence, water-proof characteristics, malleability, etc.
The four most commonly used hydrocarbons are ethylene, propylene, butadiene and benzene. Their molecules make them particularly suitable for composing long organized chains. The complex nature of petrochemical substances is reconstructed through numerous passages and different production processes to achieve a very wide range of products.
Ethylene is the raw material most widely used in the world (5 million tonnes per year). It is used alone to make fruit ripen more quickly and produce detergent marked by a limited foam production.
Polymerization leads to polythene (PE), contained in numerous packages, prints, and linings. The combination of ethylene with water leads to the creation of ethylic alcohol, a solvent for perfumes, cosmetic products, varnish, soap, dyes, textiles and plastic products.
The combination of ethylene and benzene leads to polystyrene (PS), an insulating material used in the building industry and as a raw material to package fragile things and toys. The combination with chlorine leads to polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a widely used material in the building sector and to manufacture waterproof textiles.
Propylene is the starting point of numerous chemical products, including isoprene, glycerine and acetone. The mutual combination of thousands of propylene molecules leads to polypropylene (PP), an ideal substance to manufacture packages and other resilient products. Butadiene is especially used to treat synthetic rubber, leather succedaneum and as solvent.
Finally, benzene, is the starting point to obtain important by-products, such as phenol, aniline, styrene and chlorobenzene, all used in dyes, fibres, resins, plastic, synthetic rubber, pharmaceuticals, insecticides, detergents, textiles.
Oil by-products are used as fuels in thermoelectric plants for the production of electric energy, as well as for household heating and the production of hot water.

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    In order to improve supply security, and therefore the diversification of sources to produce electric energy...

    Cracking operations

    At the end of the fractional distillation, long hydrocarbon molecules can be transformed into lighter molecules by means of more…

  • Where does energy come from?

    Every day the Earth receives enough solar energy to satisfy the global energy need...

    Electricity and electrons

    In all electric plants, excluding photovoltaic solar plants, mechanic energy is transformed into electric energy through the same basic procedure...

  • Peat and peat-bogs

    The age of coal starts towards the mid 1600s, stimulated by the need for finding an alternative energy source to…

    Geographical distribution of energy

    Every day the Earth receives enough solar energy to satisfy the global energy need. Unfortunately we cannot exploit all this…

  • Orimulsion

    In order to improve supply security, and therefore the diversification of sources to produce electric energy...

  • Cracking operations

    At the end of the fractional distillation, long hydrocarbon molecules can be transformed into lighter molecules by means of more…

  • Where does energy come from?

    Every day the Earth receives enough solar energy to satisfy the global energy need...