In a previous question, I asked whether bitumen and oil were liquids. We’ll now answer this query, in part, using one of the major definitions of the term.
To determine whether a hydrocarbon is a liquid, all you need to do is to check its boiling points:
Hydrocarbons will dissolve into water at their boiling temperatures, and thus a liquid can be boiled if the temperature of water equals the temperatures at which the hydrocarbons dissolve. For example, an oil with a boiling point of 212°F melts quickly, and thus when the boiling point of water is 212°F, an oil is a liquid. When an oil is mixed with air, however, such as for blending, it will have a lower boiling temperature, and hence a longer time to change into a liquid. This is probably a factor of more than the temperature and volume. Hydrocarbons can dissolve readily in hydrochloric acid. This means that hydrocarbons such as tar, benzene, and xylene can be dissolved in water at a lower temperature than they dissolve in hydrochloric acid, however, even when a solid solution is combined with air, they will remain in the water.
Hydrocarbons can be heated at different temperatures when mixing, e.g., a hydrocarbon such as benzene can be heated to the point where it becomes a solid at 200° F. and then can be brought to a liquid state at the end of mixing, while a benzene molecule that has been heated to a higher temperature can break down into benzene gas.
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: We turn now to a series of stories from a new documentary by filmmaker Naomi Klein, called This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Environment. She is the author of a new book called The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism and How It Threatens Our Future, and a co-founder of 350.org. The film focuses on two key issues: what she calls the “shock doctrine” and the “fracking nightmare” of hydraulic fracturing. The latter refers to the controversial process of injecting millions of gallons of water and chemicals through a mixture of sand and chemicals at millions of feet below the earth’s surface to release billions of barrels of oil. The new documentary follows the efforts of the Sierra Club to ban fracking from two of the biggest oil fields in New Mexico.
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