8 julio, 2024

10 Products Derived from Petroleum for Daily Use

The petroleum products They are products that are produced from hydrocarbons when they are processed in refineries. Unlike petrochemicals, which are generally pure chemical compounds, petroleum derivatives are complex combinations.

Depending on the demand and the refinery, different products can be produced. Most of the products are used as “transportation fuels”, ranging from gasoline to fuel oil.

These fuels include or can be blended to make gasoline, diesel, turbine fuel, or heating oils. The heavier parts can be used to produce asphalt, tar, paraffin, lubricants, and other heavy oils.

Refineries also produce other chemicals that are also used to make plastics and other materials used by humans. Petroleum coke is also marketed, for example.

The most common derivatives are fuel oils for heating and electricity and for asphalt. It is also used as a raw material to make synthetic materials, plastics, and chemicals that are used in the daily life of human beings.

Oil waste or by-products of oil refining are also used to make other things. It is estimated that there are more than 6,000 products made from waste. The most common products include fertilizers, perfumes, linoleum, insecticides, Vaseline, soaps, vitamin capsules, etc.

A 42-gallon barrel of oil (150 liters) creates about 19.4 gallons of gasoline (75 liters). The rest, which is more than half, is used to make hundreds of everyday products. Some of the most common are solvents, inks, nail polishes, dyes and dyes, doors, toothpastes, phones, cameras, plastics, antiseptics, and detergents.

Commonly used petroleum products

1- Asphalt

It is a sticky, black and viscous liquid. It is a partially solid form of petroleum. It is mostly used in road construction.

It is also sometimes used in roof waterproofing. Because it is a strong substance that can be quickly repaired, it is widely used on airstrips around the world.

Other uses for asphalt include roofing shingles, waterproofing fabrics, and livestock sprays. It is also used in some paints and inks by some companies to increase water resistance, ink permanence, and to darken color. Asphalt is sometimes used to seal some alkaline batteries during the manufacturing process.

2- Synthetic fibers

The most common synthetic fibers are those made from petroleum derivatives. Among the most used are acrylic, polyester, nylon and lycra.

One of the biggest problems with these fibers is that they are not friendly to the environment. Particles of those fibers often stay in the environment or end up in the oceans, so scientists are trying to make fibers from recycled materials instead of petroleum derivatives.

3- Propane

It is commonly used as a fuel for stoves, motors, and central heating. It is a by-product of gas processing and oil refining. Propane can also be produced as a biofuel.

Being a by-product, its supply cannot be easily adjusted to increase the growing demand. In North America it is stored in saline cavities after being produced.

It is widely used in portable kitchens and barbecues because it only needs a measuring nozzle to be used. Propane is used as fuel for locomotives, buses, forklifts, and ice grinders. It’s a great home option in places that don’t have natural gas pipelines; it is used so that heaters, dryers and backup power plants can work since it is easily transported.

Propane is transported and stored in steel cylinders as a liquid with a vapor space above the liquid.

4- Detergents

Before World War II, detergents were made with natural oils and fats from plants and animals. But after the conflict there was a shortage of oils and the companies needed to create other options. This is how synthetic detergents were born.

At that time, oil was beginning to be found in many places, so chemicals derived from petroleum began to be manufactured to make detergents. Discovering that it was also much cheaper to make them with these derivatives and not with natural products, the trend of making synthetic detergents persists to this day.

Synthetic detergents often cause eye, skin, and lung irritation, allergies, and asthma. The fact that they could be carcinogenic is also being studied.

Another concern about detergents is that when they go down the drain, they end up in the water. This means that they can harm aquatic life; many of these chemicals are toxic to algae and fish.

5- Plastic

Plastic is any material that is made with synthetic or semi-synthetic compounds and that can be molded into solid objects. Most plastics are made from petroleum derivatives; a minority is created through recyclable materials.

Although they are not biodegradable and are one of the biggest causes of global pollution, plastics are easy to make, cheap, versatile, and waterproof. They are used in the vast majority of everyday products, from packaging to plumbing. Cars, furniture, toys, CD’s, kitchen instruments, etc.

6- Vitamin supplements

Most vitamin supplements are made from vitamins produced synthetically from petroleum in chemical plants. Companies make these vitamin supplements from petroleum derivatives simply because it is less expensive than making them from natural sources.

The most common supplements that are made from petroleum derivatives include Vitamin A, Vitamin B-6, and Vitamin B-9. If the packaging says that they are vegetarian, many times it is because they do not come from animals but rather from synthetic petroleum derivatives.

7- Perfumes

Perfumes are a mixture of essential fragrance oils or aroma compounds, fixatives, and solvents. Petroleum-derived solvents such as petroleum ether, hexane, toluene, and benzene are used to extract fresh plant materials; creating semi-solid fragments of lavender, roses, jasmine, etc.

Once the extraction process is complete, the solvent evaporates, leaving behind this semi-solid substance. This product is then washed with ethanol to form «absolutes», which are used in perfume formulas.

The vast majority of perfumes do not contain these petrochemicals in their ingredient list; Many of these toxins are the cause of allergies, asthma, headaches, skin irritations, and sneezing. However, the vast majority of fragrances use these compounds.

8- Fertilizers

One of the most important uses of petroleum is in the production of ammonia to be used as a source of nitrogen in agricultural fertilizers. Although ammonia can be found naturally through biological processes and manure, from the 20th century it began to be manufactured industrially.

Modern agriculture in general also depends on pesticides in order to produce consistent and healthy crops. These pesticides are almost always also produced through petroleum derivatives.

To run a farm or ranch, oil is absolutely necessary; From operating the machines to fertilizing the plants, agriculture is one of the areas that most uses petroleum-based products.

9- Paraffin

This smooth, solid substance is white or transparent. It is a derivative of petroleum and consists of a mixture of hydrocarbons. At room temperature it is solid and begins to melt at approximately 37 °C.

Paraffin wax is widely used in lubricants, candles, and electrical insulation. Tinted paraffin wax can be made into crayons.

Paraffin candles are odorless and are usually white. They were created in the late 1800s and represented a breakthrough in candle making technology. It burns much more efficiently and cleaner than bait candles; In addition, they are much cheaper to produce.

Other activities in which paraffin is used include as a coating on waxed paper, as a sealant on bottles, as a crust on candies, in chewing gum, as an ingredient in lubricants, and in moisturizing cosmetics, among others.

10- Lotions and cosmetics

Petrolatum or petroleum jelly is a petroleum derivative commonly used in personal hygiene products and cosmetics; acts as a wetting agent. If well refined, petrolatum does not pose any health risk, however, depending on where it has been refined, it may be contaminated with toxic chemicals.

It is known as petrolatum, petroleum jelly, paraffin oil, and mineral oil. Because it melts at a temperature close to human skin, it softens on application and creates a barrier so skin’s natural moisture can’t escape. It is a popular ingredient in skin care products and many cosmetics.


A partial list of products made from Petroleum. Recovered from ranken-energy.com.
Oil Refining. Ullmann’s Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry (2000). Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA. Retrieved from onlinelibrary.wiley.com.
What are petroleum products, and what is petroleum used for? (2017) FAQ’s-EIA. Retrieved from eia.gov.
Asphalt and Bitumen. (2009). Ullmann’s Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry Wiley-VCH, Weinheim, Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA. Retrieved from onlinelibrary.wiley.com.
The Dirt on Laundry Detergents. (2008) Boogie Green. Recovered from sarahmosko.wordpress.com.
The Truth About Detergents (2011) Smart Klean. Retrieved from smartklean.com.
fabric friday: petroleum-based manufactured fibers (2013) Oliver Rands. Retrieved from oliverands.com.
The Truth About Vitamins in Nutritional Supplements. Articles – Doctor’s Research. Retrieved from doctorsresearch.com.
9. Which part of petroleum is used for perfume? (2016). Retrieved from quora.com.
Petrolatum, petroleum jelly. Chemicals of Concerns – Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. Retrieved from safecosmetics.org.
Petroleum Products. Petroleum Geology. Retrieved from aapg.org.
Other Uses of Petroleum. Agriculture. Retrieved from petroleum.co.uk.

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