The modern world is hard to imagine without natural gas. It is widely used as a heating fuel for housing, industrial plants, domestic gas stoves and other appliances. Many vehicle engines also run on gas. What is natural gas and what is it?
This is mineral extracted from the deep layers of the earth’s crust. Natural gas is stored in huge “vaults”, which are underground chambers. Often gas accumulations are adjacent to oil ones, but are more often located deeper. In the case of proximity to oil, natural gas can be dissolved in it. Under normal conditions, it is exclusively in the gaseous state.
It is believed that this type of gas is formed as a result of the decay of organic remains that enter the soil. It has neither color nor smell, therefore, aromatic substances are introduced into the composition before use by consumers. This is done in order to be able to feel and eliminate the leak in time.
Natural gas is explosive. Moreover, it can ignite spontaneously, but this requires a high temperature of at least 650 degrees Celsius. The explosion hazard is most pronounced with household gas leaks, which sometimes lead to the collapse of buildings and human casualties. A tiny spark is enough to explode a large concentration of gas, which is why it is so important to prevent leaks from household gas stoves and cylinders.
The composition of natural gas is varied. Roughly speaking, this is a mixture of several gases at once.
Methane is the most common type of natural gas. From a chemical point of view, it is the simplest hydrocarbon. It is practically insoluble in water and weighs lighter than air. Therefore, when leaking, methane rises, and does not accumulate in the lowlands, like some other gases. It is this gas that is used in household stoves, as well as at gas filling stations for cars.
Propane is released from the total composition of natural gas during certain chemical reactions, as well as high-temperature processing of oil (cracking). It has neither color nor smell, while it poses a danger to human health and life. Propane has a depressing effect on the nervous system; if a large amount is inhaled, poisoning, vomiting is observed. At especially high concentrations, a lethal outcome is possible. Also propane is explosive and fire hazardous gas. However, subject to safety precautions, it is widely used in industry.
This gas is also produced during oil refining. It is explosive, easily ignites and, unlike the two previous gases, has a specific smell. Because of this, it does not need the addition of warning fragrances. Butane has a negative impact on human health. Inhalation leads to lung dysfunction and depression of the nervous system.
Nitrogen is one of the most abundant chemical elements on the planet. It is also present in natural gas. Nitrogen cannot be seen or felt because it has no color, no smell, no taste. It is widely used to create an inert environment in many technological processes (for example, welding of metals), and in a liquid state like a refrigerant (in medicine to remove warts and other nonhazardous skin neoplasms).
Helium is separated from natural gas by fractional distillation at low temperature. It also has no taste, no color, no smell. Helium is widely used in various spheres of human life. Perhaps the simplest of them is filling holiday balloons. From the serious medicine, military industry, geology, etc.d.