Posted by: ginnynorman | March 16, 2010

Oil Refining – Unit 8, Organic Chemistry

Oil Refining

As part of our organic chemistry unit we will be looking at oil refining. This is a fairly lengthy process but it is very important as the world is so reliant on oil.

The task:

You need to answer the following questions in your notebooks using the website. I will mark the answers and they will form part of your notes for this unit. Please write clearly and write the questions as section headings for your notes.

The Questions:

  1. List at least four items that are produced from petroleum.
  2. Watch the why? Tell me why! Video (at the bottom of the first page). In your own words explain why Alaska is so oil rich.
  3. What is crude oil?
  4. What are hydrocarbons?
  5. What is the problem with crude oil?
  6. What is oil refining all about?
  7. Describe what happens in an oil refinery. Draw diagrams to help you.
  8. List the 8 products that come from crude oil and their boiling points.
  9. Watch the video: Energy Policy: Foreign Oil Sources. Who is the fastest growing user of oil?
  10. Fractional distillation (copy, fill in the blanks and answer the questions):

Step 1: ________ the mixture with ______________ boiling points.

Step 2: The mixture ______________, forming gases.

Step 3: The ____________ enters the bottom of a long column filled with ___________ or ___________.

  • What are the holes in the trays for?
  • What do the trays help collect?
  • Where is it hot in the column? ____ Where is it cold?____

Step 4: The vapor _____________ in the column

Step 5: What happens to the vapor as it rises?

Step 6: (a) when does vapor condense?

(b) What does condense mean?

(c) Where do substances with the highest boiling point condense?

Step 7: What do the trays collect?

Step 8: What happens to the liquid fractions?

11.Watch the animated diagram, copy and fill in the blanks:

The crude oil flows into the ________  where it is heated until it vaporizes. It is then sent to the _________ _________  where it is cooled until it condenses. The residual is the first to condense with ______carbons. The last to condense is _____  with only ___  carbons.

13. Why are fractions treated?
14. What is blending?

Time Allowed:

This should take you the whole lesson and possibly a little bit of homework IF you work hard, concentrate and don’t waste either your time or mine.

The Wesite:

Use this website to answer the questions. Watch all the videos, look at all the diagrams and read all 7 pages! Feel free to do some googling for more information if you are interested in any of the topics.


  1. Hi Ms Ginny, this is prae..
    i would like to ask you when this webquest assignment is due? because i missed school for two days now.. .

    thank you .

    • Hi Prae! I have missed you in class this week 😦 I hope you get better soon! It’s not really a webquest, I would like you to use the questions to make notes in your notebook from the website. It should take only an hour-an hour and a half. I will mark them on Tuesday when you hand it in with your homework for this week. Are you coming to school tomorrow?

  2. Good to see you are teaching organic chemistry to your students. I have a nice way to cook up bio-diesel fuel from cooking oil. Do you want to know how to do it ?

    You would need some means of boiling methanol and cooking oil under reflux, and a separation funnel to do it.

    In the US some schools do it on such a large scale that they then can fuel up the school bus with the product.

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