Oil Facts

Our lives would be very different without Oil. It comes in many forms that are a huge benefit to all of us.

But did you know, Oil doesn’t like to mix with water? Or that the United States alone uses over 19.5 billion barrels of crude oil each day?

Let’s explore the world of Oil further to see what other slick facts we can discover about this “black gold.”

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Oil History

Early explorers encountered this slippery-substance and even made good use of it. They used oil to grease their wagon wheels and tools.

In 1855, a chemist by the name of, Benjamin Stillman, discovered an important method that would change the way people viewed this element. He found that by distilling petroleum (crude oil) it could be used for kerosene in cooking and for lamps

By 1859, people realized the value of oil and the drilling began. In fact, it started a mad-craze similar to the Gold Rush. The Pennsylvania Rock Oil Company was the first to begin the process of drilling oil from the ground, rather than collecting what seeped to the top.

However, it wasn’t until 1870 that the oil industry really boomed. This was made possible by one man, John D. Rockefeller, who took the oil industry to new heights.

Today, oil continues to be a huge commodity and is still being drilled in many parts of the world.

Where is Oil Found?

Crude oil is found deep under the Earth’s surface and has been there for millions of years. It is actually formed by fossilized plants and animal matter. Oil is also found deep in the ocean’s floor but is more difficult to get at.

There is also a form of oil found in plants. Vegetable oil is extracted from sunflowers, corn, coconuts, peanuts, olives, and palm oil.

What is Oil Used For?

You may be surprised to learn all the uses of this important element. Check out the things Oil is used for;

  • Crude oil is refined into gasoline, jet and diesel fuel and kerosene
  • Medicine
  • Cosmetics
  • Paint
  • Lubricants
  • Cooking
  • Pens
  • Clothing
  • Plastic Bottles

The Not-So-Nice Side of Oil

Oil spills are a huge problem for people and the planet, especially for fish and mammals that live or use the water. Oil spills can happen by human error.

These can occur when oil tankers leak this toxic substance into our seawaters. It can also happen when countries are at war and decide to dump oil into other countries’ oceans.

We have already learned that oil doesn’t mix with water, so when crude oil is dumped, it floats on the surface. This has a negative effect on all sea creatures. Whales and dolphins need to come to the surface to breathe, so the oil blocks their blow-holes.

Ducks, seabirds, and mammals (like otters) get covered in this slippery-substance which makes it difficult for them to fly or to swim. Oil can also cause poisoning in birds and animals, as well as hypothermia; this is when the body temperature drops too low.

In addition, the food fish depend on to live is also affected by oil. Seaweed, plankton, clams, oysters, and mussels all fall victim to oil spills; oil spills damages an entire ecosystem.

Fun Facts About Oil

  • because oil is so valuable it is called, “Texas Tea” or “Black Gold?”
  • Crude oil has been used for over 5,000 years?
  • Oil is measured in barrels? One barrel is equal to 42 gallons or 159 liters.
  • Oil is considered “non-renewable?” This means it could run out.
  • Saudi Arabia is the biggest supplier of oil in the world?

Try This ~ A Fun Experiment With Oil

It’s always fun to see chemicals at work, so try this easy experiment to see how Oil can actually become friends with water.

You Will Need:

  • Water
  • Small plastic bottle
  • 2 tablespoons of cooking oil
  • Food coloring
  • Dish detergent

Fill the bottle with water to about half full. Add a couple of drops of food coloring and the cooking oil. Screw the lid on and give it a shake.

You will notice that the oil quickly floats to the top of the water. This is because oil has a lower density than water.

Now, add a small squirt of dish detergent and give it a shake. What has happened? Did the oil and water join together?

This is because the soap acts as an emulsifier or a bridge that connects the oil and water together. This is how your dirty dishes can become sparkling clean.

Now that you have learned all about Oil and how important it is, go out and impress your friends and family with these fun facts. They may just think you are super-slick with all these oily factoids.