Diesel dyed red

Diesel dyed red

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Credit: PAUL RAPSON/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Diesel in a beaker. This diesel has been dyed red because it is being sold as heating oil, which is taxed less than diesel sold as motor vehicle fuel. Diesel is a product of the refining of crude oil. Crude oil is a mixture of hydrocarbons that is heated to separate it into parts called fractions. The lighter hydrocarbon fractions boil off and leave the heavier fractions behind. Diesel is collected in the range 250-350 degrees Celsius, and has hydrocarbons with 12 or more carbon atoms. To compare the colour and viscosity of crude oil and its fractions, see sequences T110/483-491 and T110/492-501.

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