Acetaldehyde or ethanal
Acetaldehyde (or ethanal) is a two-carbon aldehyde used as an intermediate in the production of acetic acid. Acetaldehyde is produced by direct oxidation of ethylene. Acetic acid used to be the major derivative for acetaldehyde, but except in China, this is no longer the case. Major end-uses include ethyl acetate, isobutyl acetate, synthetic pyridine derivatives and peracetic acid.
Acetic acid is a colourless liquid traditionally made by fermentation (vinegar is mainly acetic acid). It is a raw material for several key petrochemical intermediates and products, including vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) for coatings and adhesives, purified terephthalic acid (PTA) for polyester production, acetate esters, cellulose acetate, acetic anhydride and monochloroacetic acid (MCA). Acetic acid is now mainly produced via methanol carbonylation, but ethane, ethylene or acetaldehyde oxidation processes are also commercially employed.
Acetone is a commodity solvent commonly produced as a co-product during cumene oxidation for phenol, which consumes benzene and propylene, and for this reason on-purpose acetone production has declined. On purpose production consumes either propylene or isopropanol. Acetone is used in the production of bisphenol A and methyl methacrylate, intermediates to PMMA and Polycarbonate engineering resins, respectively, along with methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK) and others. It also has major use as a solvent in industrial and household applications, e.g., paints and ink. Acetone is produced in all regions.
The Acetyls family are those chemicals derived from acetic acid, the simplest carboxylic acid.
Acrylic acid is used in the production of acrylate esters, superabsorbent polymers, detergents and flocculants. Acrylate esters are mostly used in coatings, adhesives, and elastomers applications, while superabsorbents are used in diapers etc, and most other derivatives are performance chemicals for cleaning or water treatment, also firefighting. Acrylic Acid is a propylene derivative which is produced by propylene vapor-phase oxidation. Acetylene based production of acrylic acid has now ceased, and new processes based on propane are being developed. Acrylic acid tends to be produced close to major consumers as melting of transportable solid can be hazardous. Alternative names for acrylic acid include: acroleic acid, ethylene carboxylic acid, propenoic acid.
Acrylonitrile is used as an intermediate in the production of acrylic fibers as well as acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) and SAN resins, and as monomer for polyacrylonitrile. Acrylonitrile is a propylene derivative which is produced by the reaction of propylene and ammonia. Acrylonitrile is produced in all regions, although most new projects are either located in Asia where demand growth is strongest, or in the Middle East where there is increasing feedstock availability.
Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS)
Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) is a copolymer made from polymerizing styrene and acylonitrile in the presence of polybutadiene. ABS is stronger than polystyrene, and is used to make light, rigid products such as pipes and toys. It is a high volume engineering polymer that exhibits good strength and high gloss properties and is used widely in the production of electronics and automotive applications.
Alpha olefins are straight chained olefins with a double bond between the end two carbons in a chain (the "alpha" position). These olefins are very reactive and as such have a number of uses. Light alpha olefins (butene-1, hexene-1 and octene-1) are consumed mainly in the production of polyethylene, including LLDPE. Decene-1 is principally used to manufacture polyalpha olefins for the production of high performance lubricants. High alpha olefins are consumed in the manufacture of detergent alcohols. There are two main ways to produce linear alpha olefins - via ethylene oligomerization and via Fischer-Tropsch process via syngas (applicable only to SASOL). In regions of low cost ethylene (eg Middle East) ethylene dimerisation is also used to produce butene-1 and recently ethylene trimerisation has been used to produce hexene-1 Producers either manufacture a specific linear alpha olefin (on-purpose) or a range.
Ammonia is an inorganic compound comprising nitrogen and hydrogen in the ratio 1:3. Ammonia is produced from hydrocarbons, mainly natural gas, and nitrogen extracted from air. Ammonia occurs both in solution and as anhydrous ammonia, the latter finding its main application in fertilizers. Ammonia is also consumed in various other chemical and industrial applications such as the production of nitrate-based explosives, and in aqueous solution as a solvent.
Aniline is an aromatic derivative produced by hydrogenation of nitrobenzene and is used primarily for the production of MDI (methylene diphenyl diisocyanate).
The Aromatics are a group of unsaturated hydrocarbons all sharing a common unsaturated six carbon ring. Benzene is the simplest aromatic compound and consists solely of this ring structure, with the other members having hydrocarbon side groups connected to the main ring. Aromatics are named Aromatic after the sharp smell associated with the family and are produced in processes involving the pyrolysis of hydrocarbon streams such as steam crackers and refinery reformer units.