Paraffins are straight- or branched-chain hydrocarbons (i.e., they do not contain naphthene or aromatic rings).

In a refinery, a paraffinic hydrocarbon will tend to crack well in a cracking unit (e.g., FCC) and will have higher cetane when blended into diesel, especially if it contains more straight chains and fewer branches. Likewise, it will tend to perform poorly in a reformer and would make a poor (low-octane) gasoline blendstock.

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