Hydrocarbons And Their Uses In Industrial Manufacturing

Hydrocarbons and Their Uses in Industrial Manufacturing


A hydrocarbon is an organic compound. It consists of carbon and hydrogen only. The presence of any atom other than carbon and hydrogen prohibits the compound from being measured as a hydrocarbon.

The bulk of hydrocarbons originate naturally take place in petroleum crude oil. They are also occur from natural gas. There the decomposed organic matter delivers a plenty of various individual changes of hydrocarbons.

In this post, we will learn in detail about Hydrocarbons and their uses in industrial manufacturing.


Hydrocarbons can be:

  • Gases (methane & propane),
  • Liquids (hexane & benzene),
  • Low melting solids (paraffin & naphthalene)
  • Polymers (polyethylene, polypropylene & polystyrene).

The principal use of hydrocarbons is as a flammable fuel source. Methane is the greatest significant component of natural gas. The C6 through C10 alkanes & alkenes are the main components of gasoline, naphtha, diesel & other octane fuels for cars, trains, power plants etc. Nearly large-scale non-fuel applications of hydrocarbons initiate with ethane and propane, which are found from natural gas.

These two gases are converted to ethylene and propylene. These two alkenes are raw material to polymers including polyethylene, polystyrene, acrylic, polypropylene, PET, HDPE, and LDPE etc.


  • The empirical formula of hydrocarbons is changed from each other due to their different molecular structures.
  • For example, alkanes, alkynes or alkenes, the amount of bonded hydrogen drops in alkenes and alkynes.
  • This is mostly due to the self-bonding of carbon that stops the complete saturation of the hydrocarbon by the formation of double or triple bonds.
  • The ability of hydrocarbons to bond to themselves is recognized as catenation.
  • They may form more complex molecules like cyclohexane with such capabilities.
  • And in rare examples, aromatic hydrocarbons like benzene.
  • For the meantime, cracking of Hydrocarbons is a process in which weighty organic molecules are cracked down into lighter molecules.
  • This is accomplished by providing a suitable amount of heat and pressure.
  • Occasionally catalysts are used to speed up the reaction.
  • This process shows a very vital role in the viable production of diesel fuel and gasoline.

Physical Properties

  • Alkanes with 10 C-atoms or less are usually gases at room temperatures more than 10 C-atoms.
  • The molecules are gases or liquid.
  • Alkanes normally have low boiling and melting points.
  • Boiling point depends on the factors, Molecular mass and Branching
  • Alkanes having high molecular mass and high boiling points such as C2H6 has more boiling point than CH4.
  • Alkanes having the same molecular mass but having a diverse number of branches.
  • The one with less branching has more boiling point this is due to the Vanderwal’s force weak on as area increases.
  • For instance, CH3-CH2-CH2-CH3 has more boiling point.
  • Alkanes are very weakly soluble in water.
  • They are soluble in non-polar solvents for example Benzene, CCl4, etc.

Types of Hydrocarbons

Hydrocarbons And Their Uses In Industrial Manufacturing

  • Hydrocarbons can be;
  • Straight-chain,
  • Branched chain
  • Cyclic molecules

There are five particular families of hydrocarbons:

  1. Alkanes
  2. Alkenes
  3. Alkynes
  4. Cycloalkanes
  5. Aromatic hydrocarbons

Alkanes (paraffins)

  • These are saturated hydrocarbons.
  • Wherein all of the four valence bonds of carbon are fulfilled by hydrogen or by another carbon.
  • Alkanes can have conventional and branched chains.
  • However deprived of any ring structure.

Alkenes (olefins)

  • These are unsaturated hydrocarbons.
  • As not all of the carbon valencies are fulfilled by another atom.
  • They have a double bond (C¼C) between carbon atoms.
  • Alkenes have the over-all formula CnH2n, supposing no ring structures in the molecule.
  • Alkenes can have more than one double bond between carbon atoms.
  • The formula is reduced in this case by two hydrogen atoms for each additional double bond.

Alkynes (acetylenes)

  • These are hydrocarbons those comprise a triple bond (ChC)
  • They have the over-all formula CnH2n – 2.
  • Acetylene hydrocarbons are extremely reactive.
  • They are very infrequent in crude oil.

Cycloalkanes (naphthenes)

  • These are saturated hydrocarbons comprising one or more rings.
  • Each of which can have one or more paraffinic side chains.
  • The over-all formula for a saturated hydrocarbon covering one ring is CnH2n.

Aromatic hydrocarbons (arenes)

  • These are hydrocarbons comprising one or more aromatic nuclei.
  • For example benzene, naphthalene, and phenanthrene ring systems.
  • It can be related up with substituted naphthene rings and paraffinic side chains.

Uses of Hydrocarbons

  • Hydrocarbons are extensively used as fuels.
  • For example LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) and CNG (Liquefied natural gas).
  • They are used in the industrial of polymers such as polyethene, polystyrene etc.
  • These organic compounds discover their application in the business of drugs and dyes as a starting material.
  • They help as lubricating oil and grease.
Mansoor Ahmed is Chemical Engineer, web developer, a writer currently living in Pakistan. My interests range from technology to web development. I am also interested in programming, writing, and reading.
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