About this book
Approximately half of the world production of the petrochemical industry (more than 100 million tonnes) is in the form of polymers, yet it would probably surprise most people to learn how much their lifestyle depends on polymers ranging, as they do, from detergents, kitchenware and electrical appliances to furnishings and a myriad other domestic goods. Still less are they likely to be aware of the extensive part they play in engineering applications for mechanical machine components and advanced high performance aircraft. This versatility derives from the fact that polymeric materials are made up of a range of molecules of varying length, whose properties are related to molecular structure and the proportions of the chains in the mixture. For example, polypropylene is a commodity polymer which is produced in hun dreds of different grades to meet specific market requirements. This depends on the catalyst as well as the operating conditions and reactor design. A major area for growth is in substituting polymers for conventional materials such as ceramics and metals. Not only can they match these materials in terms of mechanical strength and robustness but they have very good resistance to chemical attack. Polyamides, for example, are widely used for car bumpers and new polymers are being developed for engine manifolds and covers. In 1993 there is, typically, 100 kg of various polymers used in cars and this is continually increasing, giving a net weight reduction and hence better fuel economy.
modeling polymer polymers process design reaction