Mammoth Memory

The fractional distillation of crude oil

Fractional distillation is the separation of a mixed solution by vaporising and condensing at different levels.

The way to remember this is to take the meaning of distillation and note that fractions of the crude oil are condensed at different levels.

A fractionating column is a  tall column where crude oil is heated where the liquid is siphoned off at different points to provide oil, fuel, and gasses to be used for different things

Fractions off – It’s in the name.

The diagram above gives a rough breakdown of the fractions crude oil is split into. However, the size of these fractions will vary depending on which oil field the crude oil is from.


In the previous diagram, for the ease of understanding, we have shown the following:

Magnification of the condensing oil at siphoning points

But quite often a cap is put over the entrance way to force the hydrocarbon to bubble through to the next reservoir as a kind of non-return valve.

Bubble caps are put in place when opening the tap to let the condensed liquid out like a non return valve

But, again, we have left this off so you gain a better understanding of the process taking place.

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