Asian Chemical Connections
Inorganic chemicals are substances of mineral origin that do not contain carbon in their molecular structure with the exception of carbon oxides and carbon disulphide. Important classes of inorganic compounds include oxides, halides, carbonates and sulphates.
Ammonia is an example of a large volume inorganic chemical. Ammonia's major use is as a nitrogen source in fertilizers where it is used to produce derivatives including ammonium nitrate, urea, ammonium phosphates and ammonium sulphate. Ammonia can also be used in combination with phosphate rock and potassium to form N-P-K compound fertilizers. Ammonia is also used as intermediate in the production of nylons, acrylonitrile for fibres and plastics, isocyanates for polyurethanes, hydrazine and explosives.
Chlorine is used in the manufacture of many different products including polyvinyl chloride (PVC), organic and inorganic chemicals, agrochemicals and pharmaceuticals as well as chemicals for water treatment and sterilisation.
Co-produced with chlorine is caustic soda which is a versatile alkali. Its main uses are in the manufacture of pulp and paper, alumina, soap and detergents, petroleum products and chemical production. Other applications include water treatment, food, textiles, metal processing, mining, glass making and others.
Titanium dioxide (TiO2) is the naturally occurring oxide of titanium. The main use of TiO2 is as a white powder pigment used in products such as paints, coatings, plastics, paper, inks, fibres, food and cosmetics. Titanium dioxide also has good ultraviolet (UV) light resistance properties and is seeing growing demand in photocatalysts.
Other important inorganic chemicals include aluminium sulphate, hydrochloric acid, hydrogen peroxide, nitric acid, phosphoric acid, sodium carbonate (soda ash), sodium chlorate, sodium silicate, sodium sulphate and sulphuric acid.
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INSIGHT: Asia polyethylene margins good but volume concerns build
"PE executives insist rebalancing will be a carefully managed and gradual process, as China cannot afford to allow growth to collapse."
VIDEO: ICIS special report on the fertilizers markets