Published: Jan 2010
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THE TERM “PETROLEUM SOLVENTS” DESCRIBES the special liquid hydrocarbon fractions obtained from petroleum for use in industrial processes and commercial formulation to dissolve, suspend, or transport the other ingredients of the process or formulation. In recent years, the variety of petroleum solvents has increased considerably due to the development of refinery processes designed primarily for the transformation of low-octane feedstocks to high-octane fuels, as well as due to environmental regulations and concerns. These new developments led to the production of a number of important solvents and intermediates, which were obtained previously only from pine trees or from the coal carbonizing industry. This chapter deals mainly with petroleum hydrocarbon solvents consisting only of hydrogen and carbon atoms. Solvents that contain chemical species other than hydrogen and carbon such as oxygen (alcohols, ethers, aldehydes, esters, etc.), nitrogen (amines, nitriles, etc.), and sulfur (mercaptans, sulfolanes, etc.), are outside the scope of this chapter. Such solvents are obtained from various petrochemical industries. Petroleum solvents are available for a variety of applications. Modern refining techniques produce solvents with a high degree of purity and stability in a wide range of grades and boiling points. Petroleum solvents are particularly attractive because they are readily available in large volumes at reasonably low costs compared to solvents from other sources.
Montemayor, R. G.
Imperial Oil Ltd., Sarnia, Ontario