It will be difficult to overlook the importance of hydrocarbons even with its adverse effects; hydrocarbons are still important to modern life and can be seen as the driving force of western civilization especially in today’s power generation where there is a hydroelectricity system.
This is a fact if we look at the different purposes that hydrocarbons are used for. Apart from the provision of different fuel by hydrocarbon, they are used in creating many things. This review is here to explore all the aspects of hydrocarbon and furnish you with all the details you should know about hydrocarbon.
What is Hydrocarbon?
Hydrocarbon simply means an organic chemical compound that is entirely made up of carbon atoms and hydrogen. It can be said to be a naturally occurring compound that forms the basis of natural gas, crude oil, coal, and other basic energy sources.
Features of Hydrocarbon
- Hydrocarbon is an organic compound
- Hydrocarbons are made up of carbons and hydrogens
- A double or triple bond can be formed between carbon atoms and even structures
- Saturated hydrocarbons have in them more hydrogen atoms e.g the Alkanes
- Hydrocarbons are mostly used for fuel but can be used to make things as well
- The hydrocarbon can be divided into 4 classes namely alkenes, alkanes, alkynes, and aromatic.
Classification of Hydrocarbon
Based on classification, hydrocarbon has 4 classes and there are:
These are all organic hydrocarbons. This simply means that they only contain the atoms of carbon and hydrogen.
How are Hydrocarbons Formed?
Formation of hydrocarbons begins with organic matter and over the years layers of sand, silt and other sediments will settled over the buried organic matter. Then the increase of temperature and pressure will slowly transformed the organic matter into the hydrocarbons we have today.
What is Hydrocarbon Used For?
- Hydrocarbon is used as fuel like propane, coal, gasoline, natural gas, diesel fuel, and jet fuel
- It is used for making synthetic fabrics
- Plastics are being manufactured from hydrocarbon
- Hydrocarbon is found in motor oil which helps to lubricant the moving parts of car engine
- Candles which are made from paraffin wax is a mixture of hydrocarbons
- The rain boots we use are made of a mixture of several hydrocarbons
Examples of Hydrocarbons
Hydrocarbon that is a molecule that has only carbon atoms and hydrogen has the following examples:
Plastics: This is made from petrochemicals which is still hydrocarbons of different chemical compositions.
Natural gas and fuels: Their chemical formulas still consist of hydrogen and carbon atoms
Paraffin: This is another good example of hydrocarbon and is very useful for candle making and food preservation.
Asphalt: Asphalt is a good example of hydrocarbon which when heated result in a substance tar.
Is Hydrocarbon Harmful?
Yes, to some extent it can be harmful to both humans and its environment. Though a lot of hydrocarbons are not harmful but if gotten to the lungs it can be harmful and brings health problems like permanent lung damage, pneumonia-like condition and outright death. For the environment though it might not be risky on its own but can be when it is expose to sunlight and it undergo a chemical reaction.
How to Tell if a Compound is a Hydrocarbons
A compound that is a hydrocarbon will be made of nothing more than hydrogen and carbon and must be under the group of the 14 hydrides.
Causes of Hydrocarbon Emissions
The following are the causes of hydrocarbon emissions:
- Excessive PCV flow and crankcase blowy
- Rich or lean air fuel ratio
- Low catalytic converter efficiency
- Induction system problems
- Uneven output among the engine’s cylinders
- There could be poor ignition performance
What are they Properties of Hydrocarbons?
The following are properties of hydrocarbons. They are:
- The normal boiling point
- The standard enthalpy of vaporization at 298.15k
- The standard enthalpy of combustion at 298.15k
- The gas phase standard enthalpy of formation at 298.15k
- Liquid phase standard enthalpy of formation at 298.15k
- Specific gravity at 15.6 Celsius and flash point
What are the Common Hydrocarbons?
The common hydrocarbons that abound are the following:
- The methane
- The Ethane
- The propane
- The butane
- The pentane
- And the Hexane
How to Control Hydrocarbons
Controlling hydrocarbon is done with the use of hydrogenation catalyst, so it will be used to covert gas-phase unsaturated hydrocarbons to saturated hydrocarbons.
What are the Major Sources of Hydrocarbons?
The major sources of hydrocarbon are petroleum, natural gas, fossil fuels, and coal.
Why are Hydrocarbons Bad?
Hydrocarbon is bad for human because if humans swallow it by mistake it can cause choking and coughing which will enable it entering the airways and then irritate the lungs which will increase and bring a deadly effect like chemical pneumonia-ties and it can lead to severe pneumonia from here.
What is Hydrocarbon Pollution?
Hydrocarbon pollution is the contamination of the environment from hydrocarbon sources especially from petroleum. The truth is petroleum hydrocarbons are really toxic to man and all forms of life. The causes of these pollutions are urban stomwater discharges into the river, pesticides, automobile oils, oil spillage etc.
Importance of Hydrocarbon
Hydrocarbons are important because firstly, they are the principal constituents of natural gas and petroleum. Secondly, they served as lubricants and fuels and lastly they are raw materials that are used for the productions of fibres, plastics, solvents, rubbers, industrial chemical and explosives.
What are the Purposes of Hydrocarbons?
The purpose of hydrocarbon is to provide raw materials for production of things like industrial and chemical uses. It is also for the provision of fuels and lubricants for use in the society.
What is the Origin of Hydrocarbons?
Hydrocarbon happens naturally throughout the entire world; it originated from animal fossils and plant that have been formed through the forces of weight and temperature over millennia. Hydrocarbon is found deep in the ground in some porous rock formations such as shale, sandstone and limestone.
Where are Hydrocarbons Found?
The good amount of hydrocarbons that are find on earth happen in coal, crude oil, natural gas and petroleum and because crude oil are made from decomposed organic matter it is more abundant in carbon and hydrogen atoms.
Are Hydrocarbons Safe?
Hydrocarbons on their own aren’t harmful because there oily liquids and most are not harmful but every other chemical or compound one need to be careful with it and avoid swallowing it or getting it into the lungs because it will be harmful then. Hydrocarbons can cause permanent damage to the lungs which may as well leads to death if help doesn’t come on time.
What Causes Hydrocarbon Pollution?
Pollution of hydrocarbons happens due to toxic organic substances pesticides and petroleum which becomes harmful to the environment. The worse is the pollution caused by petroleum hydrocarbon since it is bad for different life forms. Crude oil pollution is common too, due to its extensive use, accidental spills, and dumping process. Other causes of hydrocarbon pollution are accidents on oil platforms, ships used for hydrocarbon transportation, and discharging water used to wash tanks of tanker vessels into the sea.
How to Reduce Hydrocarbons in the Environment?
Reducing of hydrocarbon in the environment can be done in three ways: they are phytoremediation, Bioremediation, and chemical remediation.
Phytoremediation: This is all about using plants to reduce mobility, volume, and toxicity of pollution in water and soil. Various processes will be used like rhizofilitration, phytoextraction and the rest to have a good impact on the toxicity, volume, and mobility of these intended pollutants
Bioremediation: Is about the use of microorganisms to reduce hydrocarbon in the environment. It will help remove the pollutants in the most inexpensive and effective way. This reduction can happen naturally or via the addition of fertilizers to increase the bioavailability of the medium. The processes to be used here are biostimulation and bioaugmentation.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Hydrocarbons
Advantages of Hydrocarbon
The following are pros of hydrocarbon
- It is the main fuel source to other alternatives
- Burning hydrocarbons is more powerful than other alternatives out there
- Hydrocarbons provide energy quickly and it’s really reliable
- Extraction and local drilling of oil is good for an entire country compared to depending on foreign counties for oil
- Hydrocarbon makes good fuels since its covalent bonds store a good amount of energy
Disadvantages of Hydrocarbons
The following are the cons of hydrocarbon:
- The deep drilling activity will have an adverse effect on the environment like pollution of the environment
- Hydrocarbons are not safe for human consumption. It can bring death
- It contributes to the greenhouse effect and other environmental problems like acid rain, destruction of natural areas and even the rain forest when there’s search for more fossil or oil fuel deposits
- It can cause unrest and political tensions between countries.
Hydrocarbon has come to stay with us especially in the modern world because of its purposes and benefits. The major input which is the provision of fuel which we all need has made it difficult to downplay the height we need hydrocarbon.
So even with its attendant effects, we can’t do without them and as such we just have to be careful when exploiting it to avoid causing more problems than we gain. Hydrocarbon is important and as such we will continue enjoying while keeping abuse of it at bay.