Taking a Look at Thermal Cracking

1769 WordsFeb 22, 20187 Pages
Thermal Cracking: The simple distillation of crude oil produces various types of products and some of them (heavy distillates) are not very much useful as a fuel when compared to light distillates. So there is a need for subsequent conversion of heavy distillates to light distillates. This can be obtained by altering the molecular structure of hydrocarbons in heavy distillates. One of the ways of accomplishing this change is by ‘Cracking’, a process that breaks the high boiling point petroleum fractions into more useful products like gasoline, fuel oil, gas oils. Thermal Cracking is the process of converting high boiling point petroleum fractions to more useful products using high temperature to heat them up and this high temperature gives them sufficient heat energy to crack. The first thermal cracking method, the Shukhov cracking process, was invented by Russian engineer Vladimir Shukhov, in the Russian empire, Patent No. 12926, November 27, 1891and the first thermal cracking process was developed around 1913. In thermal cracking heavy oils are heated in large drums under pressure to crack them into small molecules which have good anti knocking properties but this process lead high coke formation. Thermal cracking of hydrocarbons follows free radical mechanism. Free radical mechanism has three steps Initiation, propagation, and termination. Cracking happens in the initiation step and the termination step leads to formation of coke. This process of thermal cracking evolved
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