Petrochemical products

The following is a partial list of the major commercial petrochemicals and their derivatives:

ethylene - the simplest olefin; used as a chemical feedstock and ripening stimulant

  • •     polyethylene - polymerized ethylene
  • •     ethanol - via ethylene hydration (chemical reaction adding water) of ethylene
  • •     ethylene oxide - via ethylene oxidation
  •         o     ethylene glycol - via ethylene oxide hydration
  •                 *     engine coolant - ethylene glycol, water and inhibitor mixture
  •                 *     polyesters - any of several polymers with ester linkages in the backbone chain
  •         o     glycol ethers - via glycol condensation
  •         o     ethoxylates
  • •     vinyl acetate
  • •     1,2-dichloroethane
  •         o     trichloroethylene
  •         o     tetrachloroethylene - also called perchloroethylene; used as a dry cleaning solvent and degreaser
  •         o     vinyl chloride - monomer for polyvinyl chloride
  •                 *     polyvinyl chloride (PVC) - type of plastic used for piping, tubing, other things

propylene - used as a monomer and a chemical feedstock

  • •     isopropyl alcohol - 2-propanol; often used as a solvent or rubbing alcohol
  • •     acrylonitrile - useful as a monomer in forming Orlon, ABS
  • •     polypropylene - polymerized propylene
  • •     propylene oxide
  •         o     polyether polyol - used in the production of polyurethanes
  •         o     propylene glycol - used in engine coolant and aircraft deicer fluid
  •         o     glycol ethers - from condensation of glycols
  • •     acrylic acid
  •         o     acrylic polymers
  • •     allyl chloride -
  •         o     epichlorohydrin - chloro-oxirane; used in epoxy resin formation
  •                 *     epoxy resins - a type of polymerizing glue from bisphenol A, epichlorohydrin, and some amine

C4 hydrocarbons - a mixture consisting of butanes, butylenes and butadienes

  • •     isomers of butylene - useful as monomers or co-monomers
  •         o     isobutylene - feed for making methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) or monomer for copolymerization with a low percentage of isoprene to make butyl rubber
  • •     1,3-butadiene (or buta-1,3-diene) - a diene often used as a monomer or co-monomer for polymerization to elastomers such as polybutadiene, styrene-butadiene rubber, or a plastic such as acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS)
  •         o     synthetic rubbers - synthetic elastomers made of any one or more of several petrochemical (usually) monomers such as 1,3-butadiene, styrene, isobutylene, isoprene, chloroprene; elastomeric polymers are often made with a high percentage of conjugated diene monomers such as 1,3-butadiene, isoprene, or chloroprene.

higher olefins

  • •     polyolefins such poly-alpha-olefins, which are used as lubricants
  • •     alpha-olefins - used as monomers, co-monomers, and other chemical precursors. For example, a small amount of 1-hexene can be copolymerized with ethylene into a more flexible form of polyethylene.
  • •     other higher olefins
  • •     detergent alcohols

benzene - the simplest aromatic hydrocarbon

  • •     ethylbenzene - made from benzene and ethylene
  •         o     styrene made by dehydrogenation of ethylbenzene; used as a monomer
  •                 *     polystyrenes - polymers with styrene as a monomer
  • •     cumene - isopropylbenzene; a feedstock in the cumene process
  •         o    phenol - hydroxybenzene; often made by the cumene process
  •         o     acetone - dimethyl ketone; also often made by the cumene process
  •         o     bisphenol A - a type of "double" phenol used in polymerization in epoxy resins and making a common type of polycarbonate
  •                 *     epoxy resins - a type of polymerizing glue from bisphenol A, epichlorohydrin, and some amine
  •                 *     polycarbonate - a plastic polymer made from bisphenol A and phosgene (carbonyl dichloride)
  •         o     solvents - liquids used for dissolving materials; examples often made from petrochemicals include ethanol, isopropyl alcohol, acetone, benzene, toluene, xylenes
  • •     cyclohexane - a 6-carbon aliphatic cyclic hydrocarbon sometimes used as a non-polar solvent
  •         o     adipic acid - a 6-carbon dicarboxylic acid, which can be a precursor used as a co-monomer together with a diamine to form an alternating copolymer form of nylon.
  •                 *     nylons - types of polyamides, some are alternating copolymers formed from copolymerizing dicarboxylic acid or derivatives with diamines
  •         o     caprolactam - a 6-carbon cyclic amide
  •                 *     nylons - types of polyamides, some are from polymerizing caprolactam
  • •     nitrobenzene - can be made by single nitration of benzene
  •         o     aniline - aminobenzene
  •                 *     methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) - used as a co-monomer with diols or polyols to form polyurethanes or with di- or polyamines to form polyureas
  • •     alkylbenzene - a general type of aromatic hydrocarbon, which can be used as a presursor for a sulfonate surfactant (detergent)
  •         o     detergents - often include surfactants types such as alkylbenzenesulfonates and nonylphenol ethoxylates
  • •     chlorobenzene

toluene - methylbenzene; can be a solvent or precursor for other chemicals

  • •     benzene
  • •     toluene diisocyanate (TDI) - used as co-monomers with polyether polyols to form polyurethanes or with di- or polyamines to form polyureas polyurethanes
  • •     benzoic acid - carboxybenzene
  •         o     caprolactam
  •                 *     nylon

mixed xylenes - any of three dimethylbenzene isomers, could be a solvent but more often precursor chemicals

  • •     ortho-xylene - both methyl groups can be oxidized to form (ortho-)phthalic acid
  •         o     phthalic anhydride
  • •     para-xylene - both methyl groups can be oxidized to form terephthalic acid
  •         o     dimethyl terephthalate - can be copolymerized to form certain polyesters
  •                 *     polyesters - although there can be many types, polyethylene terephthalate is made from petrochemical products and is very widely used.
  •         o     purified terephthalic acid - often copolymerized to form polyethylene terephthalate
  •                 *     polyesters
  • •     meta-xylene
  •         o     isophthalic acid
  •                 *     alkyd resins
  •                 *     Polyamide Resins
  •                 *     Unsaturated Polyesters

About Radiant Global

We supply our materials for use in the roads, construction and general civil engineering industry. Supplying bitumen and natural asphalt (“like-Gilsonite”) is also a significant part of our business


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