PAUL RAPSON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PAUL RAPSON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Light lubricating oil being poured into a beaker. Lubricating oil 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. Lubricating oil contains hydrocarbon chains with 20-50 carbon atoms, with light lubricating oil at the lower end of this range with a low viscosity. Lubricating oil boils in the range 300-370 degrees Celsius, and is used to lubricate motor vehicles and industrial machines. 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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