Petroleum Products

petroleum products

[pə′trō·lē·əm ‚präd·əks]
Materials derived from petroleum, natural gas, or asphalt deposits; includes gasolines, diesel and heating fuels, liquefied petroleum gases (LPG and bugas), lubricants, waxes, greases, petroleum coke, petrochemicals, and (from sour crudes and natural gases) sulfur.

Petroleum Products


mixtures of hydrocarbons and some of their derivatives, and also individual chemical compounds, produced by the refining of petroleum and used as fuels, lubricants, electrical-insulation materials, solvents, paving materials, and raw materials for the petrochemical industry. A considerable number of petroleum products are mixtures of individual hydrocarbon components containing various additives, which improve the properties of the products and the stability of their properties in use. (For a more detailed discussion of the chemical conversions that are the basis for the production of petroleum products, see.)

Gaseous and liquid fuels are a major group of petroleum products. Among such fuels are various products of the refining of petroleum by-product gas (casinghead gasoline is a component of automobile gasolines, the propane-butane fraction is a motor fuel and a fuel for community and household use, and isobutane is a raw material for the production of the high-octane components of motor fuels), petroleum refining gases, gasoline, kerosine, and mazut.

Motor fuels account for the largest quantity of petroleum fuels; they are used in internal-combustion engines (piston, jet, and gas-turbine engines). This broad group accounts for about 63 percent of all petroleum products. Products of the direct-distillation refining of petroleum (gasoline, ligroin, and kerosine-gas oil fractions), as well as products of secondary petroleum refining (for example, catalytic cracking), are mainly used in

making motor fuels. All petroleum fuels, with the exception of boiler fuel (for which mazut is used), are purified. The most important performance characteristic of petroleum fuels is the heating value. Gasoline has high resistance to detonation, and diesel fuel has good ignition characteristics; both fuels have a low pour point (and cloud point) in accordance with the conditions and region of use. The required performance characteristics of fuels are provided by careful selection of fuel components and additives.

Petroleum oils are the second most important group of petroleum products and are second in volume of production. This group consists mainly of lubricating oils. Electrical insulation oils and industrial oils are an important group. Oils are produced mainly by vacuum distillation of mazut and deasphalting of petroleum tars (heavy residues of petroleum refining). The most important indicators of the performance characteristics of oils are viscosity, index of viscosity, resistance to oxidation, lubricating capacity, flash point, and pour point.

Lubricants derived from petroleum products also include plastic lubricants and cooling lubricants. Plastic lubricants are mixtures of petroleum oils (sometimes synthetic oils) with various thickeners and are used primarily at points of friction, in a wide range of temperatures and speeds, for the long-term preservation of metal articles. Cooling lubricants are petroleum oils or pastes activated by surface-active agents (self-emulsifying oil, sul’fofrezol [sulfureted mineral oil], and emulsifying pastes) and are used in the cutting and pressing of metals.

Industrial petroleum asphalts form the third group (in terms of volume of production) among the commercial petroleum products. They are widely used in the road-building and construction industries. Industrial asphalts are produced by concentration (vacuum distillation) and oxidation (by a stream of air) of the residues of petroleum refining that contain large quantities of asphalt-tar compounds and heavy heterocyclic compounds.

An important group of petroleum products consists of the solid hydrocarbons: paraffins, ceresins, Vaselines, petrolatums, and ozokerites. These substances are produced by separation and purification of products isolated in the deparaffination of petroleum fractions, as well as by treatment of natural ozokerites, and are used in medicine and food, in the electrical, paper, and rubber industries, and in the production of plastic lubricants.

Commercial petroleum products also include various solvents, petroleum coke, carbon black, and demulsifying agents.

Petroleum products obtained by separation of fractions of petroleum pyrolysis (benzene, toluene, xylene, naphthalene, and green oil) are used primarily as petrochemical raw materials. Petroleum refining gases, as well as many other products of the thermal and catalytic treatment of petroleum, are also used as chemical raw materials.


Tovarnye nefteprodukty, ikh svoistva i primenenie: Spravochnik. Edited by N. G. Puchkov. Moscow, 1971.
Nefteprodukty [parts 1–2]. Moscow, 1970.


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