The petroleum acids and bases


Somerrhnt like the weather, any book has highs and lows; very much like the weather, in this book the highs are large and the lows are small. Chapters...
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THE PETROLEUM ACIDS AND BASES H. L. Lochte, Professor of Chemisby, University of Texas, and E. R. Littmon, Enjay Company. Chemical Publishing Co., Inc., New York, 1955. 368 pp. 11 figs. 5 6 tables. 14.5 X 22.5 cm. $9. PETROLEVM cont,ains, besides rsrbon and hydrogen, small amounts of m~tals, nitrogen, aolfnr, and oxygen. All the metals, the bulk of the nitrogen, most of the sulfur, and no one knows what part of the oxygen typically occur in the residual third of petroleum. Some part of the oxygen is present as organic acida, most of them in the middle of the gas-oil third of pcbroleum. Something under half the nitrogen occurs as organic bases. Perhaps 50 acids and 100 bases have been isolated, mrne from the gan-oil and some from the lightest or naphtha third of petroleum. The painstaking s t u d i e ~thst led to the separation and identification of these few arids and bases, which account for but a sm.qll fraction of the oxygen and nitrogen present, is the main subject of this little book. The acids, wrhieh are notoriously difficult t,o work with, require 20 chapters; the bases, which are more reasonable, need only eight. Two thorough chapters on weover? and use of naphthenic acids were the eont,rihution of Dr. Littman. Professor Lochte's part of the book follow%t,hc classical pattern. Too seldom do rhemists now write a book in the field in which they published papers over several dreades in several journals. Such books wpply reasons for the work, speculations of the investigator, suggestions to othrrs, and a continuity that the papers larked. Research today allows less time for writing bwks; as aftcn as not, the tough jol, of consolidating hard-osrned knowlrdgc drop: neatly and silently among the memhers of the rrsearch team-and budgets don't provide for it anyway. The elxssieal pattern has its faults. Such hook^, osualip developed ahronologically, tend to repeat from onc chapter to the next. Thus, readers of t,hese chapters cannot fail to lcarn thst early distillers of Galieian p e t d e u m smelled ammonia, and that Ton Dram chose t.he hard road in studying acids for clues to the structure of hydrocarbons in petroleum. But repetition seoms small penalty for t,he hook's two big successes: it tells what has heen learned about petroleum acids and bases to those who need to know, and sells the idea of learning mare to those who do not. Somerrhnt like the weather, any book has highs and lows; very much like the weather, in this book the highs are large and the lows are small. Chapters on the origins of acids and nitrogen compounds are particularly well handled, but that on charaeteriaation of petrolcum acids prabably will be the most read. Use of "sat urated acids" to mesn "paraffinic acids" is a little confusing. As usual, proper nouns suffer more than common noons, like Brunn for Bruun, and W. H. Perkins, Jr. There really are not enough lows to. bother anyone but a reviewer. (Continued on page 8488) JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL EDUCATION, OCTOBER, 1956