Industrial Chemistry: For Advanced Students - Mark A. Benvenuto 2015


The production of tens of thousands of commodity chemicals today yields a quality of life for many people which has never before been experienced throughout the rise and fall of all civilizations. Because of the ability to refine and use numerous chemicals from crude oil, we have a wide variety of long-lasting, durable plastics that help enable everything from modern medicine to long-distance food transport. This same source provides us with huge quantities of several different motor fuels which enable transportation that is far faster than anything that had been possible throughout most of history. Because of our ability to refine, isolate, and alloy more than 60 elemental metals, we have been able to do everything from creating new building materials to mass produce tiny magnets that enable cellular phones and a myriad of other electronic devices. Because of our ability to refine and use chemical commodities such as cement, concrete, and asphalt, we have been able to construct an infrastructure for humanity that again has never been accomplished, even in the most advanced cultures of the past.

Many of the largest produced commodity chemicals worldwide have been discussed in detail in the volume Industrial Chemistry. We will see in this book that many of the substances discussed in the first volume are used in chemical transformations that either produce or utilize the chemicals discussed here. But in writing a single volume, one has to make several painful choices about what is included, and what must be excluded, from the contents. Industrial Chemistry — for Advanced Students is not only picking up where Industrial Chemistry left off however; it is also widening the discussion and examination of the industrial-scale chemical processes and end products that make vital contributions to our world today. This volume’s goal is to help students see the interconnectivity of a widely differing series of chemical processes and to relate what they have learned in other chemistry classes to the world of industrial-scale chemistry.

Writing a book like this is both a challenge and a reward, and there is probably no author alive who can do it without help. I have to thank my editors, Karin Sora and Julia Lauterbach for help and advice at every step of this book’s development. Many of my work colleagues have been very helpful when it came to everything from chasing down the details of some process to double checking how ideas are presented in the chapters. Thanks are definitely due to Drs. Klaus Friedrich, Matt Mio, Liz Roberts-Kirchhoff, Shula Schlick, Mary Lou Caspers, Kate Lanigan, Kendra Evans, and Jon Stevens, and also to Jane Schley and Meghann Murray. Additionally, I thank Heinz Plaumann, Hulya Ahmed, and Denise Grimsley of BASF, Keith Olsen and Kevin Perry of General Motors, and Felix Schneider, formerly of the US Food and Drug Administration, for tolerating what may have seemed like an endless stream of apparently random questions from me. A very special thanks goes to Megan Klein of Ash Stevens for proof reading the entire manuscript. And obviously, many thanks go to my wife, Marye, and my sons, David and Christian, for just plain putting up with me as I wrote this book.

Detroit, January 2015

Mark A. Benvenuto