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    When crude oil is vapourised as it is put through the fractionating column, do at least some of the hydrocarbons have enough energy to react with oxygen and burn. Since small chain hydrocarbons can be burnt by lighting them with a matchstick, surely when they are heated up to 350C + in the fractionating column they have the activation energy to react with the oxygen in the air in the fractionating column. This should lead to combustion of at least some of the more flammable hydrocarbons in the crude oil.
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    That would depend on whether you did it in an air-tight container or whether you wanted a mother of all explosions?
 
 
 
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