NeedEssay.org

final Essay Fuels Hydrocarbons

 
 
Fossil fuels have become such an integral part of our modern lives, that it would
be hard to imagine life without them. Most fossil fuels were formed hundreds of millions
of years ago, by processes of heating and compression deep within the crust of the
earth. Fossil fuels play a large part in the carbon cycle on earth, and affect the climate
we live in. There are many different forms of fossil fuels too, and each one has its own
unique properties and uses, as well as effects on the earth. We will now go into detail
about each of these subjects, and delve deeper into the incredible world of hydrocarbon
combustion.
 
What are fossil fuels, exactly? Fossil Fuels are a type of molecule called
hydrocarbons. A Hydrocarbon is a molecule consisting of a string of carbon atoms,
coated with hydrogen atoms, and this combination of atoms is what gives us the
flammable stuff we use to power our world. Hundreds of millions of years ago,
prehistoric plants and sea animals were buried in the ground, and the incredible heat
and pressure of the earth caused their atoms to rearrange into these hydrocarbons,
forming the sludge we call crude oil. There are many different hydrocarbons, ranging
from octane with eight carbon atoms to coal with up to hundreds.
 
Though fossil fuels are all hydrocarbons, they are not all formed the same way.
There are three main types of fossil fuels; natural gas, oil, and coal. Coal was fo
med
from 800 million year old plant material that was flooded in swamps and buried under
the ground. The heat and pressure of the earth caused the atoms to rearrange into
large clusters of carbon, hydrogen, and a few impurities. Oil was formed around the
same time, but from ancient marine life forms that were buried under the silt of the
seabed and converted into hydrocarbons. Natural gas was formed the same way, but
deeper in the ground and under more pressure. It then bubbled up above the oil, and
created pockets, generally around oil reserves.
 
Fossil fuels, or hydrocarbons, are molecules comprised entirely or almost entirely of
carbon bonds, coated in hydrogen. The chemical structure of the most we-known hydrocarbon,
octane (gasoline) is a straight line of eight carbon atoms covered in hydrogen atoms, with each
either bond from a carbon atom consisting of either one other carbon atom and three hydrogen
atoms, or two of each.
 
Combustion is the process by which the
presence of oxygen and heat energy
cause the hydrocarbons to break apart
and form new bonds with the Oxygen
atoms, in the form of Carbon Dioxide,
Carbon Monoxide, and Methane gas, as
well as releasing large amounts of further
heat energy.
 
This expansion of gasses and increases
in heat cam be used to generate kinetic
energy in cars, boil water into steam to be
used to generate electricity, or even heat