The Top 5 Most Common Industrial Chemicals

Industrial Chemicals

You don’t have to have ever taken a chemistry class to recognize the importance of industrial chemicals in your life.

They’re, to some extent, in nearly every product you buy or use. And you might be surprised at how many you already know.

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So what are some of the most common chemicals? We’ll take a look at five.

1. Oxygen 

You may not have considered this is an industrial chemical  – since it’s what keeps you alive. But in the chemical industry, it used to break down hydrocarbons into smaller hydrocarbon products that are used to produce paints, plastics, and other products.

It is also used in the steel industry to burn off impurities in molten ore. For every ton of steel made around a ton of oxygen is required.

When oxygen is liquified, it is used as an oxidizing agent in rockets and in missiles. Without liquid oxygen, space shuttles could never launch.

2. Ammonia 

Ammonia is a familiar chemical used in household cleaning products and you likely recognize it by its distinct odor. Yet it’s also used to produce other chemicals and products such as cosmetics, vitamins, dyes, synthetic fabrics, certain drugs, and nitric acid.

The agriculture industry uses over half of the ammonia produced to produce fertilizers, cotton defoliants, and antifungal agents for fruits.

Ammonia is used in several other industries including mining and manufacturing, industrial refrigeration, and leather.

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3. Chlorine

Many of us associate chlorine with swimming pools. And it makes sense. It’s used to kill bacteria and eliminate harmful pathogens in both pools and water purification plants. It’s also one of the main ingredients in bleach and is an effective disinfectant in household cleaners.

You’ll also find chlorine in an active agent in insecticides, as well as a reactant in both automotive and computer parts production.

4. Ethylene 

In terms of use, ethylene is one of the most versatile chemicals. You’ll find it in antifreeze, synthetic rubber, and fabrics such as polyester. 

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It’s also used in the production of styrene for packing and insulation, and polyethylene – one of the most widely used plastics. Polyethylene actually accounts for nearly half of the ethylene produced. (Click here for access to high-quality polyethylene.) 

In addition, ethylene is used to make ethanol for industrial purposes. It must be produced by fermentation, however, to be viable for human consumption.  

5. Nitrogen

Almost as versatile as ethylene, nitrogen is used in a vast array of products. As a gas, it is most commonly used to protect materials from coming into contact with oxygen. 

Similar to oxygen, nitrogen has additional uses in its liquid form. In the food processing industry, it can rapidly freeze products so they can be processed. It’s also effective for freezing wet ground in the construction industry.

Finally, it serves various applications in the metal and steel industries, as well as in cooling chemical reactor devices.

Industrial Chemicals Are Everywhere

Even if you’ve never thought about it before, it’s obvious just how important industrial chemicals are. They exist in nearly every industry and make a huge difference in our everyday lives.

Who’d have thought?

And for more great articles on a variety of topics, keep checking back with our blog!



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