Industrial Chemistry

Industrial Chemistry

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Mode of Delivery

  • Online
  • Blended mode/mixed: online and face-to-face
  • Face-to-face

1. Rationale

Industrial chemistry deals with commercial production of chemicals and related products from natural raw materials and their derivatives. It enables humanity to experience the benefits of chemistry when we apply it in the exploitation of materials and energy. When we apply chemistry in the transformation of materials and energy to make useable products this results in growth and improvement in areas such as food production, health, and hygiene, shelter and clothing. The economic growth of industrialized countries relies on the manufacturing industry for finished products. The goal of studying industrial chemistry at university is to try and bridge the gap between classical chemistry and chemistry is applied in industry. The chemical industry is highly globalized and produces thousands of chemicals from a wide variety of raw materials by means of varied technologies for varied end uses. It is therefore important to base the study of industrial chemistry on an understanding of the structure of the industry and the unit operations and unit processes that make up the chemical processes. On the basis of natural raw materials sources and the chemistry involved, we find it easier to study industrial inorganic and industrial organic chemistry separately. Through the electrolysis of brine, we obtain chlorine and sodium hydroxide both of which are important reactants in organic synthesis of products such as petrochemicals and detergents respectively. By fixing nitrogen, we obtain ammonia, from which we can make fertilizers. From sulphur, we get sulphuric acid, which we use, in the manufacture of phosphate fertilizers. Mineral ores as well as being raw materials for basic chemicals are the source of pure metals, which we use elsewhere in building and construction, manufacture of equipment, machines and jewellery. Turning now to organic chemical industry, we use petroleum as the source of petrochemicals and synthetic polymers. Fermentation enables us to convert natural organic materials into chemicals, some like penicillin being pharmaceutical ingredients. From natural oils and fats, we obtain soaps and detergents.

2. Prerequisite or Knowledge

Module 5
Unit I Basic Organic Chemistry
Unit II Hydrocarbons
Unit III Alkyl halides
Unit IV Amines

Module 6
Unit I Alcohols and ethers
Unit III Carboxylic acids and their derivatives

Module 7
Unit I Benzene and its derivatives
Unit III Heterocyclic compounds

Module 9
Thermodynamics
Chemical principles of variable constituents

3.   General objectives

At the end of this module you should be able to:

  • Classify the chemical industry in terms of products, raw materials, scale and types of transformations.
  • Describe the operation principles of selected unit operations and unit processes.
  • Describe metal extraction in general and the extractive metallurgy of iron, aluminium and copper in particular.
  • Discuss with the help of relevant flow diagrams, equations, operating conditions and equipment principles, the manufacture of chlorine, sodium hydroxide, ammonia, sulphuric acid, fertilizer and cement.
  • Explain using flow diagrams and equations, how crude oil is refined, and how some petrochemicals and polymers are synthesized.
  • Discuss fermentation theory and its application in ethanol manufacture, the production of some pharmaceuticals, soaps and detergents.


4. Time

This unit will require 120 hours to cover.

5.   Materials

You will require the following tools and resources for completing the module:
Computer, CD-ROM, and e-library

  • To access this module, exams and other relevant material
  • To access other suggested reference materials
  • For interactive discussions/chat sessions
  • Recommended textbooks and reference materials
  • To assist learning and further understanding of topics in the module
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