Aviation fuels can be produced from most crude oils, but the yields will vary according to the source. Crude oils consist of mixtures of many thousands of hydrocarbons, each of which has its own discrete chemical and physical properties. The physical property that is used initially in the refining of crude oil is boiling point. It is clearly not practicable to separate hydrocarbons individually, but they are divided by a process of distillation into product groups or ‘fractions’ boiling within pre-determined temperature ranges. These fractions are described as ‘straight-run’, and various processes are then used to refine the properties to meet their required quality. As seen in the previous chapter, the two major groups of product concerned in this study are the various grades of aviation gasoline, blended for use in aero piston engines, and of aviation kerosines for use in aero gas turbine engines. The initial distillation process, and the subsequent process routes for these two fuel groups, are discussed below.
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