organic chmeistry

1.Can someone tell me how fractionating tower works?and wt's the function of the bubble cap?
2.dead plant material change to coal in the (presence/absence) of air?
3.In alkanes, it is said that C>17 is solid,but fuel oil and gas oil are liquids....why????

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because C < 17; in petrol most of the molecules C=7 but in some C = 8 That's the octane rating.

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