hydrocarbon

  

Definition

Organic compound (such as benzene, methane, paraffins) made of two elements carbon and hydrogen and found in coal, crude oil, natural gas, and plant life. Hydrocarbons are used as fuels, solvents, and as raw materials for numerous products such as dyes, pesticides, and plastics; petroleum is a mixture of several hydrocarbons. Emission of gases resulting from combustion of hydrocarbons (in auto engines and industrial plants) is a major cause of air pollution and global warming.

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