The term ‘hydrocarbon’ is self-explanatory which means compounds of carbon and hydrogen only. Hydrocarbons play a key role in our daily life. You must be familiar with the terms ‘LPG’ and ‘CNG’ used as fuels.
LPG is the abbreviated form of liquified petroleum gas whereas CNG stands for compressed natural gas. Another term ‘LNG’ (liquified natural gas) is also in news these days.
This is also a fuel and is obtained by liquifaction of natural gas. Petrol, diesel and kerosene oil are obtained by the fractional distillation of petroleum found under the earth’s crust. Coal gas is obtained by the destructive distillation of coal. Natural gas is found in upper strata during drilling of oil wells.
The gas after compression is known as compressed natural gas. LPG is used as a domestic fuel with the least pollution. Kerosene oil is also used as a domestic fuel but it causes some pollution. Automobiles need fuels like petrol, diesel and CNG. Petrol and CNG operated automobiles cause less pollution.
All these fuels contain mixture of hydrocarbons, which are sources of energy. Hydrocarbons are also used for the manufacture of polymers like polythene, polypropene, polystyrene etc. Higher hydrocarbons are used as solvents for paints. They are also used as the starting materials for manufacture of many dyes and drugs.
Thus, you can well understand the importance of hydrocarbons in your daily life. In this unit, you will learn more about hydrocarbons.