Accreditation number: Lan 127
Overview of module content
The chemical industry is the most globalised of all manufacturing industries and has shown phenomenal growth for more than fifty years. It was in the manufacture of synthetic organic polymers used as plastics, fibres and elastomers where most of the growth originated. Synthetic polymers form 80% of the chemical industry’s output worldwide.
This module thus mainly deals with materials and their properties as used in the chemical industry.
Throughout the ages, humans have been experimenting with different types of materials. Some materials like wood were used as fuel while other materials like wool were used to make clothing. In the beginning people used stones as tools. It was later discovered that materials like copper and iron made excellent tools.
By experimenting with the different materials, especially within the last 100 years, humans have gained knowledge on the properties of materials. This has helped us to understand how different materials behave when used in a large range of applications. Many experiments have been done to predict the behaviour of materials.
The manufacturing of materials has become an important industry in our modern day and age. Before we go into more detail about materials and their properties, we need to look at how materials differ.
Materials exist in three natural phases namely:
Material storage and handling (transferring)
The different types of materials are each saved in its own specific storage vessels, such as:
Bulk bags, crates
Bins and boxes
Bottles and drums
Tanks and containers
Silos and hoppers
Gas cylinders, spheres
Due to its hazardous properties, care should be taken when handling materials in the chemical industry. Focus is placed on various handling practices such as storage, stock control, receiving of materials, labelling, segregation of hazardous materials and other.
In the last unit, the effect of pollution from the processing and chemical industries on the environment is discussed, such as:
Spillage from processes and tanks.
Smoke from chimneys.
Wrong disposal methods of materials.