Crude oil from the North Sea is processed at Grangemouth Refinery using fractional distillation. Crude oil is made up of a variety of different compounds that each have different boiling points. The crude oil is boiled and rises up through a column that gets cooler as the gas vapour rises. As the different compounds condense, they are collected separately.
Discuss the formation of fossil fuels and the composition of crude oil as a mix of hydrocarbons. Students could explore why these hydrocarbons can be used as fuels and their different properties. Relate these properties to the fractional distillation process and the different uses of each fraction.