Hydrocarbon definition and formula

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Content – Energy distribution

 


 
The main chemical components of fossil fuels such as oil and gas are hydrocarbons. Hydrocarbons belong to a group of chemical substance composed only by Carbon and Hydrogen atoms.

Fossil fuels definition

The tables below display a group of hydrocarbons named Alkanes, including their chemical formula and their phase at atmospheric pressure and 20° C

The lightest components Methane CH4 boils at -161° C while Hexane C6H14boils at 69°C.

HydrocarbonFormulaPhaseCategory
MethaneCH4Gas
EthaneC2H6Gas
PropaneC3H8Gas
ButaneC4H10Gas
PentaneC5H12LiquidGasoline/Naphtha
HexaneC6H14LiquidGasoline/Naphtha
HeptaneC7H16LiquidGasoline/Naphtha
OctaneC8H18LiquidGasoline
NonaneC9H20LiquidGasoline
DecaneC10H22LiquidGasoline
HendecaneC11H24Kerosene/Paraffin
DodecanC12H26Kerosene/Paraffin/Diesel
TridecanC13H28Kerosene/Paraffin/Diesel
TetradecanC14H30Kerosene/Paraffin/Diesel
PentadecaneC15H32Kerosene/Paraffin/Diesel
HexadecaneC16H34Kerosene/Diesel
HeptadecaneC17H36Kerosene/Diesel
OctadecaneC18H38Kerosene/Diesel
NonadecaneC19H40Oil/Waxes/Diesel
ElcosaneC20-C42Oil/Waxes/Diesel
C20-C50HnOil/Waxes/Lubricants
C20-C70HnHeavy Oils
>C70HnAsphalt/Bitumen

Even if coal is not a hydrocarbon but still a fossil fuel, a brief description is included.

Coal primarily consists of carbon together with minerals as clay and quarts transformed from plants.

Peat
Partly transformed material from plants (Kerogen). Around 50% Carbon

Lignite
Brown, soft coal, more than 70% Carbon, transforms below 100° C

Bitumen
Black coal, more than 70% Carbon, transforms between 100° C -200° C

Anthracite
Black coal, more than 70% Carbon, transforms between 200° C -300° C