Petroleum Bitumen

Petroleum bitumen is obtained from the distillation of crude oil in the refinery. First, the crude oil is heated to 300 to 350 ° C in the furnace at ambient pressure before entering the distillation tower. The input feed to the tower is partly liquid and partly steam. The liquid part contains components with a higher boiling point and the vapor part contains components with a lower boiling point that rise up and separate from the column. Therefore, light components such as gasoline, kerosene and gas oil are separated at this stage. The heavier components of the crude oil, which are a complex mixture of high molecular weight hydrocarbons, leave the tower. Most of this mixture is bitumen and the rest are lubricating oils. To purify and separate them, the temperature should be increased to above 400° C. In this way, the residue of the atmospheric tower enters the vacuum tower, which has a pressure of 10 to 100 mmHg. Inside the column, from bottom to top, the flow of super hot water vapor is passed. As a result, this flow causes the separation of light volatile materials and they leave from the top of the tower, and the tower residue is produced as a bitumen product (direct production) with different degrees of hardness and softness.

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