Researchers discover way to transport gasoline 30 times faster across the US
A team of researchers in Illinois have made a ground-breaking discovery which is bound to change the petroleum industry, allowing products such as gasoline to be transported up to 30 times faster. The new results contradict a theory that was considered to be true for almost 80 years.
In the late 1940s, two Princeton University professors, Henry Eyring and Walter Kauzmann, elaborated a theory that all alkanes, the main components of petroleum and gas, have a universal viscosity near their melting points. The theory would be cited more than 3,000 times, influencing both science and industrial practices around the world.
However, the effort of a team from Illinois has revealed that alkanes can still surprise scientists. Led by Yang Zhang, assistant professor at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, the scientists were able to catch the molecular movements of alkanes on tape.
This showed that their thickness could actually be reduced quite a lot, thus, allowing the substance to flow much faster.
“Alkane is basically a chain of carbon atoms. By changing one carbon atom in the backbone of an alkane molecule, we can make it flow 30 times faster,” noted Zhang.
Although impressive in itself, the discovery becomes even more impressive when thinking about its practical uses. Gasoline or crude oil could cross the United States 30 times faster than they do now, facilitating the processes of various industries.
But not only companies would benefit from this process, as there are clear benefits for regular people as well. Gas tanks would be filled in a matter of seconds, reducing queues and allowing people to use their time more efficiently.
The results were published in Angewandte Chemie International Edition.