Crude cracking

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    In cracking, how do they ensure that the right shorter chains are produced? Does it sort of come as a product of probability or Is it done on the basis of decomposition or other types of reactions?

    #4320 Reply
    User AvatarJoshua Mills

    Thermal crude cracking is done usually with heat and pressure – in this case it will be based on random chance and fractional distillation will be able to separate the products by boiling point. The boiling point is correlated with carbon chain length due to smaller chains having fewer dispersion forces hence less energy is required to break these intermolecular forces.

    Catalytic crude cracking will break alkanes into alkenes through passing the alkanes in a vapor form over a bead of low density catalysts such as zeolite. This results in them molecule splitting hence liberating to alkenes. Repeating this process until the size molecules that are desired can introduce some selectivity as to what the products will be.

    Hope this helps!



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