Gasoline, also known as petrol, is a product of the fractional distillation of crude oil. It is not used in the solid form it is manufactured in, as it is transported via pipelines to the gas stations and other destinations in the liquid form.
It is majorly used to fuel various vehicles and most cars because of the additive, ethanol, being added to it. It is also referred to as aviation fuel as it has its application in powering aviation vehicles.
Another factor that makes gasoline a good quality fuel is its flammable nature both in the liquid and gas phases.
To answer the question is gasoline a homogeneous mixture, we need to go through the detail in the article.
So, Is gasoline a homogeneous mixture? Yes, gasoline is a homogeneous mixture. This is because gasoline is a mixture of hydrocarbons present in the form of a single liquid phase (as can be seen by the naked eye) which makes it a homogeneous mixture. All the compositions in gasoline are uniform throughout the mixture making it a homogeneous mixture.
Why is Gasoline a Homogeneous Mixture?
To know the factors behind gasoline’s homogeneous nature, one must understand the meaning of a homogeneous mixture.
A mixture is a substance that is made up of more than one component. A homogeneous mixture is one that has a uniform composition throughout the mixture.
A homogeneous mixture is also stated as a solution sometimes. Gasoline checks out the properties of a homogeneous mixture which are described in further topics.
Homogeneous mixtures are basically single phased substances which means they are made up of components in the same state; all solid, all liquid, or all gas.
Since gasoline is made up of all liquid components having their composition through the entire mixture, it thus turns out to be a homogeneous mixture.
Is Gasoline a Pure Substance?
Before answering this, it is necessary to understand the meaning of a pure substance.
The term pure substance stands for the kind of substances that have a definite and constant composition in each sample and are free of all kinds of impurities.
Such types of substances are also referred to as chemical substances as they have constant chemical compositions.
Both compounds and individual elements can be pure substances. Some famous examples of pure substances are; water, sodium chloride, gold, silver, etc.
Returning back to the question, No, gasoline is not a pure substance.
This is because gasoline is a mixture and its composition is not constant. It is uniform but it is not constant.
Gasoline is available in various compositions varying on the type of hydrocarbons and additives added.
This means that the composition of gasoline changes in different samples. Therefore, gasoline cannot be referred to as a pure substance.
What are Mixture and its Types?
Mixtures are substances that are made up of more than one component which do not react chemically, instead, they just mix into each other while maintaining their original properties as-is.
The components are not mixed in a fixed proportion to form a mixture.
Also, it is possible to separate these components from each other as well as from the mixture itself.
There are two types of mixtures; homogeneous mixtures and heterogeneous mixtures.
These are the kind of mixtures in which the components mix with each other in a way so as to produce a mixture that has uniformity in the composition throughout which makes them equivalent to a solution.
Therefore, it is safe to call a homogeneous mixture a solution.
Generally, the size of the particles in a homogeneous mixture is less than one nanometer and these show the Tyndall effect, which is the phenomenon of scattering of light incident on a medium.
Gasoline is an example of a homogeneous mixture as can be seen in the following image.
These are the kind of mixtures in which the components mix with each other in a way so as to produce a mixture that has no uniformity in the composition and after a few seconds, the components separate themselves into distinct layers upon settling.
Such mixtures have a particle size greater than one nanometer and do not show Tyndall effect
when a beam of light falls on it. A mixture of sand, water, and sawdust is an example of a heterogeneous mixture as can be seen in the following image.
Why is Gasoline not a Heterogeneous Mixture?
Firstly, since gasoline is a homogeneous mixture, it cannot be referred to as a heterogeneous mixture.
Secondly, on viewing by the naked eye, gasoline appears to be something like a pure solution and not like what a mixture of sand and water looks like.
No layer separation appears to be taking place in gasoline, even upon settling down.
A major reason behind gasoline not being a heterogeneous mixture is that it is composed of components in their liquid state, which makes them easy to mix into each other.
Another factor would be the composition and the refining method which mixes all the components in a way so as to produce a mixture that is homogeneous.
Gasoline, alone, is a homogeneous mixture, however, mixing with water produces a heterogeneous mixture.
To understand it better, it would be helpful to take a look at the composition of gasoline in detail.
What is Gasoline made of?
Gasoline is a mix of a number of hydrocarbons (both aromatic and aliphatic), blending agents, and additives, therefore, its composition differs depending on various specifications.
A basic gasoline composition in percent volume consists of:
● a total of 20-50% aromatics including benzene(0.5-2.5%)
Typical gasoline contains octane as the single hydrocarbon and isooctane which has an octane rating of 100.
Certain additives and blending agents like antioxidants, anti-rusting agents, lubricants, detergents, etc., and the entire refining process together contribute to manufacturing the final balanced gasoline with high stability.
Ethanol as biofuel is added to gasoline to fuel different kinds of vehicles.
Generally, gasoline has a molecular weight ranging from 95 to 120 and a chemical formula ranging from C4to C12 which is basically an average representation depending on the various compounds that make gasoline.
Physical Properties of Gasoline
The density of all compounds is compared to water to decide if they are highly dense or vice versa.
In comparison to water, gasoline is less dense which means it will float on water in the liquid state.
The specific gravity of gasoline ranges from 0.71 to 0.77.
However, the presence of aromatic compounds in gasoline makes it have a relatively high density as compared to a few substances other than water.
you may wonder but let me tell you something interesting that in winters, gasoline do freeze in cold areas. I have also written a detailed article on it.
Check out can gasoline freeze.
An engine fueled with gasoline gets the energy to power itself from the combustion of hydrocarbons present in gasoline.
Taking octane as the example hydrocarbon which has the molecular formula C8H18, the following reaction takes place on combustion in presence of oxygen;
2C8H18 + 25O2 —–> 16CO2 + 18H2O
Engines with gasoline having a high octane content, require relatively higher energy to power themselves and produce a comparatively lower power output.
An example of this type of gasoline would be liquified petroleum gas (LPG).
One of the properties of a finely and well-manufactured gasoline is that it can stay stable for a time period of six months and starts degrading once this time period starts extending.
The performance rate of engines fueled with gasoline, which was stored for a whole year, degrades and does not give a good power output.
The degradation in the quality and the composition of such gasoline takes place due to two factors; one would be the presence of multiple components and the other would be the presence of various degrading elements in the storage or fuel tanks.
You can also read out the property of gasoline of exploding under some specific situation. Read out the article on does gasoline explode.
As we know, gasoline is basically the energy currency as it is consumed to fuel vehicles around the globe.
However, the use of gasoline is not restricted to this sector only, as there are various other sectors that require gasoline, which are;
● Gasoline is used to fuel boats and other recreational modes of transport.
● It finds its application in small aircraft.
● Various construction tools, farming tools, forestry tools, and landscaping tools require gasoline in the working of this equipment.
● Even the generators that produce electricity or the emergency power supply require gasoline.
To conclude, gasoline is a homogeneous mixture and it is not considered to be a pure substance. It is present in both liquid and gaseous states and is highly flammable.
It is composed of various types of hydrocarbons and is used to fuel various vehicles on land, water, and air.