Fractional Distillation
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  • Introduction
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Fractional distillation can be used to separate a mixture of compounds with different boiling points such as crude oil or air. 

 

Air is a mixture of nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide and some other gases. The composition of air is shown in the pie chart below.

 

 

To separate this mixture the air must be cooled to -200 oC, which turns it into a liquid. It is then warmed up slowly and each of the liquids boil at a different temperature and can be collected and removed. 


 

Fractional distillation can also be used to separate crude oil into the many compounds that it is made up of. This is very important as crude oil contains some very useful compounds such as petrol and diesel. The products of fractional distillation are shown in the diagram below:

 

  • Question 1
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Which of the following is the process used to produce petrol from crude oil?

filtration

fractional distillation

evaporation

  • Question 2
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Which gas is the main component of air?

nitrogen

oxygen

carbon dioxide

  • Question 3
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Distillation of air can be used to separate the gases in air. The air must first be turned into a liquid. What temperature is air cooled to before distillation takes place?

 

-2°C

-20°C

-200°C

  • Question 4
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Which of the following is produced from the distillation of crude oil? Tick three boxes.

petrol

tar

coal

natural gas

glass

  • Question 5
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Which of the following is produced from the distillation of air? Tick two boxes.

oxygen

water

hydrogen

nitrogen

chlorine

  • Question 6
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Match each of the substances to the raw material that they can be produced from. 

Column A

Column B

aviation fuel
crude oil
petrol
air
oxygen
crude oil
nitrogen
air
lubricating oil
crude oil
plastics
crude oil
  • Question 7
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Which of the products from fractional distillation is not used as a fuel?

natural gas

petrol

residue

  • Question 8
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List the fractions produced from crude oil in order of increasing boiling points

 Highest Boiling Point Lowest Boiling point
Residue
Natural Gas
Progress