Hydrocarbons are organic molecules that contain one or more carbon atoms joined to a hydrogen atom through a hydrocarbon group. These hydrocarbons include crude oil, natural gas, biofuel ethanol, and the petroleum-like oils found in crude oil shales. Hydrocarbons are insoluble in water, meaning their molecular structure prevents them from dissolving in water. This means these hydrocarbons cannot be converted into other forms of energy such as gas or liquids. This property makes hydrocarbons useful within the petroleum industry, where production methods can be optimized for specific properties like solubility. For example, it makes producing gasoline from oil shale easier and cheaper than making it from fossil fuels like coal and natural gas. In this article, we’ll go over some of the most common misconceptions about hydrocarbons and how they’re classified as they pertain to their solubility in water.
Why Hydrocarbons Are Insoluble in Water?
Hydrocarbons are insoluble in water because when they are combined with water, the hydrocarbons and water form a polymer. The polymer is insoluble in water because it has a high melting point.
What Are Hydrocarbons?
- Hydrocarbons are organic molecules that contain one or more carbon atoms joined to a hydrogen atom through a hydrocarbon group.
- Hydrocarbons can be made of any number of different carbon atoms, such as methane, ethane, propane, butane, and the like.
- Hydrocarbons are insoluble in water because their molecular structure prevents them from dissolving in water.
- Hydrocarbons can be made from any number of different chemical compounds and materials found on Earth. For example methane (natural gas), methane (natural gas), propane (natural gas), butane (natural gas), pentanes (a type of natural gas), hexanes (a type of natural gas), octanes (a type of natural gas).
- The hydrocarbon group is the most common part of the hydrocarbon molecule. It’s usually used to refer to the three-carbon chain found in fossil fuels like crude oil and coal.
What Are Commonly-Used Hydrocarbons?
1) Crude oil is a mixture of hydrocarbons called petroleum distillates that are refined into gasoline, diesel fuel, and other products used by man.
2) Biofuel ethanol is produced from biofuel sources such as corn or sugar cane that contain one or more types of hydrocarbons.
3) Petroleum shale has been mined since the early 1900s and contains crude oil mixed with other types of hydrocarbons including kerogen and asphaltic material.
4) Natural gas is a mixture of hydrocarbons including methane (natural gas), methane (natural gas), propane (natural gas), butane (natural gas), pentanes (a type of natural gas), hexanes (a type of natural gas) and octanes (a type of natural gas).
How Do Hydrocarbons Form?
- Hydrocarbons form as a result of life on Earth.
- When plants convert sunlight into chemical energy, they use carbon dioxide to form organic compounds.
- As the plants and animals break down the organic compounds, they release carbon dioxide and water. The carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere while the water returns to Earth’s surface as rain or snow.
- When the rain or snow hits Earth’s surface it washes away the dirt or rock that contains organic compounds that are in turn broken down by bacteria. The bacteria use nitrogen from the air to form ammonia which is then used by other microbes for respiration.
- The microbes release oxygen during this process, which then combines with other elements found in soil and rock to produce hydrocarbon molecules called petroleum distillates.
What Are Hydrocarbons Used For?
1) Hydrocarbons are used for fuel, lubricants, plastics, solvents, and as raw materials for pharmaceuticals and other products.
2) Petroleum distillates are used in the production of a wide variety of products including gasoline, diesel fuel, heating oil, and synthetic rubber.
3) Hydrocarbon-based plastics (like polyethylene terephthalate or PET) are used in the production of bottles and containers.
4) Hydrocarbon-based solvents (like toluene and xylene) are used as paint thinner, degreasers, and cleaners.
5) Some hydrocarbons such as methane (natural gas), butane (natural gas), pentanes (a type of natural gas), hexanes (a type of natural gas), octanes (a type of natural gas), benzene, toluene, xylene, and gasoline are also used in the pharmaceutical industry.
How Hydrocarbons Are Classified?
- Hydrocarbons are classified by the International Chemical Union-World Organization for Chemical Industry (ICU-WOCI) system.
- The division of hydrocarbons is generally based on the number of carbon atoms in a hydrocarbon molecule. As the number of carbon atoms increases, so does its molecular weight which is defined as the sum of all single bonds minus any double bonds present in it.
- The IUPAC system is usually used to classify hydrocarbons by their properties such as boiling point and melting point, and other physical properties such as smell and color.
- Some simple hydrocarbon mixtures like methane (natural gas), methane (natural gas), propane, or naphthalene can be easily classified using this method.
- Solid organic compounds are also broken down into smaller chemical components by fractional crystallization. For example, gasoline consists of many different chemical compounds including benzene, toluene, naphthalene, xylene, phenol, and lead acetate among others.
What Is The Solubility Of Hydrocarbons In Water?
1) Hydrocarbons are very soluble in water. For example, some hydrocarbons such as benzene, toluene, and xylene are known to be highly soluble in water where they can dissolve 100% of their own weight.
2) The ability of a hydrocarbon to dissolve in a liquid is also known as its solubility in that liquid. Solubility is expressed as the quantity of a substance that dissolves given the amount of any other substance that is dissolved by it.
3) The solubility of a hydrocarbon can be affected by many factors like pressure, temperature, and even light. As the atmosphere cools down at nightfall, atmospheric pressure increases which means the hydrocarbon will become less soluble in water. Temperature also affects solubility because higher temperatures make hydrocarbons more soluble than lower ones due to their increased volatility (or tendency to evaporate). Also, thinner liquids will have more solubility than heavier ones since gravity forces fewer molecules into each unit volume which makes them less dense and thus easier to dissolve.
Disadvantages Of Solubility Of Hydrocarbons
- Because the chemical compounds involved are only present in a limited amount of hydrocarbon, hydrocarbons are not completely renewable. Once the hydrocarbon is used up, it will not be replaced. For example, while gasoline contains carbon and hydrogen which can be covered over by forests in the shape of wood or coal respectively, there isn’t enough hydrocarbon to do this.
- Hydrocarbons can cause severe health problems due to their high toxicity. For example, petroleum products like gasoline are very toxic and are known carcinogens that have been linked to cancerous diseases like leukemia and brain tumors.
- Though hydrocarbons are very good at making the world clean and dependable, they have even more negative side effects. For example, oil spills can cause extensive damage to the environment. Also, because hydrocarbons contain carbon, they are also carcinogenic and can be very harmful to people who eat them or inhale them. Hydrocarbons have to be constantly cleaned up once they are spilled.
- Because hydrocarbon fuels give off carbon dioxide, they contribute to global warming, global climate change, and global warming (both natural and man-made).
Hydrocarbons are one of the most common types of hydrocarbon found in the environment. They’re found in a wide range of forms, including gas and liquids. That being said, hydrocarbons can be relatively stable in the environment, making them good options for energy storage. However, they make poor primary energy sources, and can therefore only be used as a bridge fuel. To sum up, hydrocarbons are organic molecules found in both the atmosphere and water environment. They’re commonly categorized as either gas or liquid and can be used as a primary or a bridge fuel.