chemical industry
16 min read Last modified on:June 27th, 2023

Production of chemicals includes a set of processes and operations involved in the manufacture of chemicals. Chemical production in the late nineteenth century there was an explosion in the amount of production and types of chemicals produced, and large chemical industries were formed in Germany and later in the United States.

Primary chemicals are a wide range of chemicals include polymers, bulk petrochemicals, intermediates, other derivatives and inorganic chemicals, and chemical fertilizers. Carbon-containing chemicals now produce a large number of substances necessary for modern economics and life. More information about chemicals and Colemanite information is in the products section.

The industry obtains raw materials from oil and converts them into intermediates or basic chemicals. The chemical industry includes companies that produce industrial chemicals. The Center for the Modern Global Economy converts raw materials (oil, natural gas, air, water, metals, and minerals) into more than 70,000 different products.

The plastics industry has some overlap, as some chemical companies produce plastics in addition to chemicals. Various specialists, including chemical engineers, chemists, and laboratory technicians, work in the chemical industry. As of 2018, the chemical industry accounts for approximately 15 percent of the US manufacturing economy.

Importance of chemical industry

One of the first chemicals to be produced in large quantities through industrial processes was sulfuric acid. In 1736, pharmacist Joshua Ward developed a process to produce it that involved heating salts and allowing sulfur to oxidize and mix with water. This was the first large-scale production of sulfuric acid.

John Robak and Samuel Garbett were the first to establish a large-scale factory in Prestonpence, Scotland, in 1749, using dense lead chambers to produce sulfuric acid. Sulfuric acid was used in the middle of the century as a more efficient agent as well as in reaction with lime, but it was Charles Tennant’s discovery of bleaching powder that led to the creation of the first large chemical industry.

His powder was made from the reaction of chlorine with dried lime and proved to be an inexpensive and successful product. He opened a factory in St. Rolex, north of Glasgow, and production increased from 52 tons in 1799 to almost 10,000 tons, and was produced only five years later.


Production of chemicals in the world

In the late nineteenth century we saw an explosion in both production and production of chemicals. Large chemical industries emerged in Germany and later in the United States. Rubber vulcanization processes were patented by Charles Goodyear in the United States and Thomas Hancock in England in the 1840s.

The first artificial color was discovered by William Henry Perkin in London. He partially converted aniline to a crude mixture that, when extracted with alcohol, produced a substance with a strong purple color. He also produced the first synthetic perfumes.

German industry quickly gained a foothold in artificial colors. The three big companies BASF, Bayer and Hoechst produced hundreds of different colors. By 1913, German industry produced about 90 percent of the world’s pigment supply and sold about 80 percent of its production abroad. In the United States, Herbert Henry Dow’s use of electrochemistry to produce chemicals from brine was a commercial success that helped boost the country’s chemical industry.

Soda ash has long been used in the manufacture of glass, textiles, soap and paper, and the source of potash has traditionally been wood ash in Western Europe. In the 18th century, the resource became uneconomical due to deforestation, and the French Academy of Sciences offered a prize of 2,400 livres for a method of producing alkali from sea salt (sodium chloride). The Leblanc process was recorded.

The Leblanc process is a process for the production of sodium carbonate, which has actually been recorded with the recognition of sodium chloride as the Leblanc process.

schematic of a refinery unit

Figure 1) schematic of a refinery unit


The most used chemicals in the world

The most common industrial chemical produced in the world is sulfuric acid (H2SO4). Sulfuric acid is an essential component in metal fabrication, especially in the production of copper and zinc, as well as in the cleaning of steel. Sulfuric acid production is growing at more than 3% per year and is largely due to demand in the Asia-Pacific region.

Ethylene (C2H4) produces more than 150 million tons of ethylene annually, more than any other organic compound. Its demand can be largely attributed to advances in the production of polymers, especially polyethylene. It can also be used to make other industrial chemicals such as ethanol. How is ethylene produced? Usually by cracking the crude oil with steam from a process commonly known as “fracking”.

Sodium hydroxide (NaOH) is a mineral compound that is vital for many industries. It is used for industrial applications such as paper production to textile development to the production of cleaning materials. More than 70 million tons are produced per year. This is usually obtained as a joint product during the manufacture of chlorine. Its popularity largely depends on its cheapness and its ability to “clean” gases to effectively remove acids during combustion.

Propylene (C3H6), also known as methyl ethylene, is an organic gas compound. This is a natural by-product of the fermentation process and makes it an important chemical compound for the development of the green chemistry sector. Conversely, it is also produced from fossil fuels. Propene is very important for the petrochemical industry and as a raw material for a variety of products. Annually, more than 850,000 tons of it is produced worldwide, mainly as fuel or for the production of rubber / plastics.

Nitrogen (N2) produces hundreds of millions of tons of nitrogen gas annually. When nitrogen combines with hydrogen, it produces ammonia, which is itself a vital industrial chemical. Nitrogen is used for a variety of products including fertilizers, fabrics, dyes and even explosives. As a gas, it also creates a “non-reactive atmosphere”, and is therefore useful for food storage and in the sterile electronics industry. In liquid form, nitrogen is important for medical research. Nitrogen is usually produced by partial distillation.

Tetrachloroethylene is a colorless, volatile, non-flammable, liquid and chlorinated hydrocarbon with an ether odor that may emit toxic phosgene vapors when exposed to sunlight or flames. Tetrachloroethylene is mainly used as a cleaning solvent in dry cleaning and textile processing and in the manufacture of fluorocarbons. Exposure to this substance irritates the upper respiratory tract and eyes and causes neurological complications as well as kidney and liver damage. Tetrachloroethylene is reasonably predicted to be a carcinogen in humans and may be associated with an increased risk of cancer of the skin, colon, lung, esophagus, and genitourinary system, as well as lymphosarcoma and leukemia. It was first discovered in 1821 by Michael Faraday. He found that chlorination of hydrocarbons at high temperatures could produce perchloroethylene because high temperatures could break down hydrocarbons and produce by-products.

Polymers and plastics such as polyethylene, polypropylene, polyvinyl chloride, polyethylene terephthalate, polystyrene and polycarbonate account for about 80% of industry output worldwide. These materials are often converted into fluoropolymer tube products and used by industry to transport highly corrosive materials. Chemicals are used in many different consumer goods and are also used in many different sectors. This includes agricultural production, construction, and the service industry.

Major industrial customers include rubber and plastic products, textiles, clothing, oil refining, pulp and paper, and raw metals. Chemicals is a global company of nearly $ 3 trillion, and the European Union and US chemical companies are the world’s largest producers.


Application of chemicals in various industries

  • Industrial chemicals

Experts and specialists in this field, for a more appropriate classification, divide industrial chemicals into two categories: “organic chemicals” and “inorganic chemicals“.

  • Laboratory chemicals

Numerous experiments are required to conduct scientific research and new findings in various laboratories. Experiments require chemicals that have a high percentage of purity so as not to overshadow the overall test process and result and cause test errors. Therefore, laboratory chemicals are prepared with a high purity and are used only in the laboratory.

Chemicals in the petrochemical, oil, and gas industries

The most important uses of chemicals in these industries are in cooling towers, boilers and various production sectors. The most important of these materials include anti-corrosion, anti-fouling, biocide and deoxygenating materials that are used in various sectors of these industries.

  • Anti-corrosion chemicals

These chemicals are commonly used in the oil, gas, and petrochemical industries in cooling towers, boilers, and other areas where corrosion is discussed.

  • Anti-fouling chemicals

These chemicals are commonly used in the oil, gas, and petrochemical industries in cooling towers, boilers, and other sediment disputes.

  • Biocides

These chemicals are commonly used in the oil, gas, and petrochemical industries in cooling towers, boilers, and oil wells, as well as in other sediment disputes.

  • Deoxygenates

These chemicals are mostly used in oil, gas and petrochemical industries in boilers or similar cases in production processes.

  • Spill point reducers and lubricants

By using these chemicals, a smoother flow of fuels and oil can be ensured. These materials also prevent paraffin problems in fuel filters.

Chemical and petrochemical industries are industries that convert natural raw materials such as oil, natural gas, air, water, metals and minerals into more than 70,000 different products and chemicals. Each of these chemicals is needed by other industries. In general, the products of the chemical industry are among the most essential materials needed by various industries, and for this reason, the chemical industry plays a colorful role among all industries.

The chemical industry itself includes a wide range of sub-industries; These include the mining, ceramic and petrochemical industries. Various experts in the chemical industry are involved, including scientists, researchers, chemical engineers, technicians, and more.

Today, synthetic chemicals have almost always replaced natural materials, which further highlights the human need for the chemical industry today. The petrochemical industry is one of the largest branches of the chemical industry. The raw material in the petrochemical industry is oil and gas derivatives. Therefore, it can be said that the petrochemical industry is a part of the chemical industry that produces chemical products from raw materials derived from oil or natural gas.

Since the early twentieth century, crude oil and natural gas as a raw material for preparing many chemical compounds needed by humans, has gained special importance. The petrochemical industry is the main supplier of consumables needed in most chemical, electrical and electronics, textile, medical, automotive, home appliances, food and other industries. Today, petroleum products, in addition to vehicle fuel, engine oil, etc., also play an important role in providing many parts needed to make vehicles.

The use of petroleum products is so widespread that it includes the production of guided rocket fuel, spacecraft, satellites, and even the manufacture of internal components. In addition, most drugs, such as antibiotics, are extracted from petroleum compounds.

Before the widespread introduction of oil into human life, humans extracted the chemicals they needed through the plant and animal industries. But from the beginning of the twentieth century, crude oil and natural gas as a raw material for the preparation and production of many chemical compounds needed by humans, became important and important.

Machinery and equipment of chemical and petrochemical industries

The most important equipment and devices used in the chemical and petrochemical industries are:

  • Heat Exchangers
  • Centrifugal Machines
  • Chemical Storage Tank
  • Distillation Tower
  • Boilers
  • Chemical Reactors (Chemical Reactor Vessel)
  • Mixing Tank with Agitator
  • Gas Turbine

This equipment is composed of smaller components, the main types of which are electric motors, industrial gearboxes, centrifugal pumps, dosing pumps, diaphragm pumps and lobe pumps.


Application of chemicals in food industry

Chemicals are essential components of everything in the world. All living things, including humans, animals, and plants, are made up of chemicals. All food is made up of chemicals. Chemicals in food are largely harmless and often desirable, for example, nutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, fats and fiber are composed of chemical compounds. Many of these things happen naturally and contribute to both a complete diet and our eating experience.

However, chemicals can have different toxicological properties, some of which may affect humans and animals. Usually they are not harmful unless they can play an important role in the production and storage of food for a long time and at high levels exposed to chemicals. For example, food additives can increase the shelf life of foods. Other things, like colors, can make food more appealing. Flavors are used to make food taste good. Dietary supplements are used as a source of nutrition.

Food packaging materials and containers, such as bottles, cups and plates used to improve food transport, can contain chemicals such as plastic, the elements of which can be transferred to food. Other chemicals can be used to fight disease in farm animals or agricultural products, or can sometimes be found in food as a result of a production process such as heating / cooking or disinfection treatment.

Some plants and fungi naturally produce toxins that can contaminate crops and cause concern for human and animal health. Individuals can also be exposed to natural and synthetic chemical compounds that exist at various levels in the environment, such as soil, climate, and industrial pollutants such as dioxins and PCBs.

The most important food safety issues for consumers

Figure 2) The most important food safety issues for consumers


You’ve all seen it many times on soft drinks cans, and the name edible citric acid engraved on the ingredients is a familiar name to you. This versatile edible acid is one of the organic acids found naturally in sour oranges and lemons, another name for citric acid is lemon essence. Oral acetic acid is used to regulate pH and flavoring. You must have heard the name of permitted food additives, nitrates, food colors and salts fall into this category and are added to the prepared food product.


Application of chemicals in the pharmaceutical industry

The pharmaceutical industry encompasses a wide variety of specialties. One of the constant elements is the role of chemistry in every branch of pharmaceutical science. It is not surprising that people with experience in chemistry are attracted to this industry.

Their expertise and knowledge can be applied in many fields. Organic chemistry plays a key role in the pharmaceutical industry, by which knowledge of organic compounds is used to inform research and to discover, research and further develop new drugs. Pharmaceutical chemicals produced are more sensitive than other substances because they are directly related to and affect human health.

Pharmaceutically active ingredients (APIs) are chemical compounds that are separated from pharmaceutical raw materials or obtained by synthesis. They act as the active ingredient of the drug and usually make up about 30% of its composition. High purity hydrochloric acid (37%) can be used in the chemical synthesis of active components of the drug.

Another product that is widely used in the pharmaceutical industry is monochloroacetic acid (MCAA). It is one of the most important semi-finished products in the chemical industry and is widely used in many organic synthesis processes. It can be used to produce ibuprofen, caffeine, vitamins (eg B6), glycine and many more. Monochloroacetic acid chloride (derived from (MCAA)) is a precursor to adrenaline (epinephrine).

The PCC Group offers quality pharmaceutical products that can be used as adjuvants. Belong to polyethylene glycols (macrogels) and are characterized by a wide range of application properties. The physicochemical properties and their function depend on the molecular weight specified by the number in the product name.

Chlorine is one of the chemical raw materials used in pharmacy. Used as an intermediary for the synthesis of drugs. It can also be embedded in their molecules. There are several groups of drugs that can be produced using chlorine. These include diuretics, anesthetics, heart medications, psychedelics or anti-neoplastic drugs. The chemical structure, application in treatment and mechanism of action are diverse.

Caustic soda and sodium salts produced by the PCC Group, such as chlorine, are raw materials used in pharmacy as intermediates in drug synthesis processes.

Apart from chemical compounds, the chemical reagents used in quantitative and qualitative analysis are equally important to the pharmaceutical industry. These experiments allow to determine the chemical composition and content of individual components in pharmaceutical products, which are expressed in numerical amounts or percentages. They can also determine how substances are affected by physicochemical or biological factors (light, pH, solution, temperature or enzymes).

In qualitative analysis, the choice of chemical reagent is determined by the target element. For example, saturated solutions of ferrous sulfate (II) and diluted sulfuric acid are used to measure nitrogen levels. Sulfur can be detected by reaction with lead acetate or sodium nitroprusside.

Silver (N) nitrate assays are used to identify halogens, while chlorine and chloroform water are often used to identify them. Qualitative analysis can include a variety of methods, including acid-base titration. Sedimentation, redoximetry, fluorometrics, spectrophotometry and color titration. Most of them require chemical reagents for the titration process such as potassium permanganate, iron (II) sulfate and iodine or thiosulfate solutions.

Application of chemicals in the printing industry

If we want to introduce all the chemicals used in the printing industry, we will include a wide range of elements of the Mendeleev table, but we will refer to the most common and widely used chemicals used in the printing industry. In printed inks, we see the widespread use of xylene, toluene and xylene, and zinc sulfide is used to make the dyes used. It may be interesting to know that alcohols play a significant role in the printing industry.

In this industry, alcohol is used as a solvent for the construction of printing inks. Ethanol, normal propanol, methyl cyclo hexanol, hexylene glycol and di propylene glycol are widely used in the printing industry. Are considered. Figure 3 shows an overview of the use of chemicals in the printing industry.

Application of chemicals in detergent industry

Separation of chemicals from the detergent industry is not possible at all, and if there are no chemicals, the survival of this industry will not be possible. Detergents appear in the role of savior to clean and remove any stains, dirt and grease from all surfaces.

Perhaps it should not be an exaggeration to introduce soap as the first detergent produced by human hands. The use of chemicals such as glycerin, fatty acids and Sodium salt is undeniable in the soap production process. Surface conditioners, water and additives are used in the manufacture of shampoos.

To remove contaminants, sodium sulfosuccinate is used in shampoos. The use of chemicals in shampoos is Polysorbate. 20, polyethylene glycol 150 and coconut of fatty acid Di ethanolamine. Citric acid is also found in the chemical composition of shampoos to regulate scalp pH and anti-dandruff properties.