An Overview Of Propane

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There are many different fuels that you will likely use on a daily basis, yet you might not be familiar with exactly how they work or why you need different fuels for different purposes. In fact, you might even want to start using some alternative fuel types after learning about them. Here is an overview of one such fuel, propane, and what exactly it is used for:

What is propane?

Like many other fuels (methane, ethane, butane, octane), propane is a hydrocarbon. This means that it consists of a long chain of carbons that is attached to a lot of hydrogen molecules. Propane consists of 3 carbon molecules and 8 hydrogen molecules. However, you don't necessarily need to understand the underlying chemistry to understand why hydrocarbons are useful to us and the reason is simple: hydrocarbons generate quite a bit of energy when they combust.

Each type of hydrocarbon has different properties that make them more suited to certain purposes. Propane's structure ultimately means that it has a very low boiling point. In fact, the boiling point is so low that propane instantly transforms into a gas upon being released from specialized containers that are used to transport propane in a liquid form. This is the reason that propane is always sold in pressurized canisters rather than as a free fluid that you can pour, like octane.

What are the main uses of propane?

The low boiling point mentioned above makes propane very valuable in situations where you don't have or need a device for vaporizing your fuel. Consider your car and the complicated and bulky engine that is required to transform gasoline into power. With propane, all you need is a nozzle to control the flow of gas out of the container. Such a simple device can be very small, which makes propane excellent for small fuel-powered devices, like grills, heaters, backup generators, and some vehicles.

Depending on where you live, propane can be a lot cheaper than electricity when comparing cost per unit of power. On top of that, you can easily stockpile propane for power outages. It is technically possible to do the same for electricity, but it is a lot harder and is generally unfeasible for the average homeowner.

Some car companies also produce vehicles that can run on propane, which can actually be significantly cheaper than gasoline in the long run. In many cases, using propane can even increase the lifespan of your engine.

To learn more, contact a company like Avery Oil And Propane