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Extracts from Nandini Chemical Journal, Oct 2007


Highlights of Some of the Articles
PROMOTE EARN WHILE YOU LEARN SCHEME FOR UNIVERSITY STUDENTS TO IMPROVE QUALITY EDUCATION While students intake in the Universities has been increased to a considerable extent in India in recent times, there is concern about inadequate availability of candidates with appropriate talent and knowledge level for the jobs. Simply attributing this scenario to fall in overall quality standards in the educational institutions in recent times would not be correct. While the rapid expansion of education may have led to marginal fall in standards in quality of education imparted in certain pockets temporarily, certainly it is not as bad to think that this has led to the talent crisis in India. The explanation must be found elsewhere. The education in India at all levels continue to be examination centric with excessive importance being given to scoring high grades in examinations written in a few hours. Today, for most of the students, education is not for the sake of knowledge but for getting academic qualification and therefore there is excessive importance given for examination and for methodology of scoring marks and grades. Enlightened educationists like Dr. C.P.Ramaswamy Iyer called for open book examination system even in the sixties as a sure method of reforming education and changing its goal and properly evaluating the merits and knowledge level of the students. Unfortunately, this suggestion was not given a fair trial and India continues to operate the old system of conducting examinations. When the goal of the students are focussed only on securing high grades in the examination, there would be no reason for the students to study in areas out of the frontiers of the syllabus prescribed and the questions likely to be put for the examinations. This sadly limits the range of interests of the students and there is no incentive for them to focus on other areas apart from the curriculum. Possibly, this is one reason why employers find that many passed out students do not measure up to their expectations and the requirements of the job. In such circumstances, the employers have to conduct specific orientation programmes to make the students employable in jobs and have to give them considerable time before they would settle down and can be entrusted with responsibilities. In today’s conditions of high salaries and wage structure and severe competitive conditions, the employers do not have the patience to give the fresh employees time to acquire the requisite knowledge and skill level for the job. In such circumstances, there is an urgent need to provide incentives for the students to study beyond their curriculum in the Universities. This can be done only by creating an innovative “earn while you learn scheme”. Such systems effectively operate in USA where the industries and R & D establishments provide assignments to educational institutions in a big way and provide opportunities for the students to earn while learning. Such schemes not only inject a sense of dynamism in the functioning of the Universities but also enormously motivate the students and enable them to acquire knowledge and expertise in areas broadly related to their subject of study and which may be out of their curriculum. The students become more knowledgeable and would be fit enough to take up jobs immediately after completion of their studies. Many educational institutions in India do have adequate facilities and library network and are in a position to take up research and investigative work and specific  technological studies for external agencies. Students can take up such work and with the help of professors if necessary. Many industries and commercial establishments often have to take up explorative studies on subjects which can all be done competently by students with some guidance from the faculty members. The industries and research bodies would also be considerably benefited in the process, as they can outsource their requirement by engaging students at much less cost than they would have to normally spend in case of employing the people all by themselves. Further, they would be enabled to identify prospective candidates for future employment in the organization. Possibly , the examination system can be reoriented so that credit can be given to the students for carrying out work for external agencies under the “earn while you learn” scheme.
During the last few years, due to the skyrocketing price of crude oil, corn based ethyl alcohol has received enormous importance as a green bio fuel, particularly in USA and China. Apart from increase in demand for corn for the production of ethanol fuel, there are also other areas of great demand potentials for corn and corn starch. Corn is the feedstock for several derivative products such as glucose, dextrose monohydrate, sorbitol which are recording steady growth in demand all over the world. Further, the demand for corn for the production of polylactic acid and starch blended polymers which are biodegradable polymers are rapidly increasing globally at the rate of 18.5% per annum, which is likely to continue. Polylactic acid which is produced from renewable source such as corn is gaining importance as an environmentally benign alternative product for the nondegradable synthetic polymers such as PET, polypropylene and polyethylene which are made from petroleum feedstock. There would be steady increase in the production and consumption of corn all over the world, in view of its increasing importance as feedstock for ethanol biofuel apart from it’s use as feedstock for the production of several derivative products and biodegradable polymers. This article discusses the following details:
  • Global scenario for corn
  • Pattern of regionwise  corn production
  • Pattern of regionwise corn consumption
  • Price scenario for corn
  • Corn scenario in USA
  1. Past production level
  • Corn scenario in China
  • Corn scenario in India
  1. Price behaviour of corn in India
  2. Need for revolution in India
  • Recent global developments on corn
  1. Production of ethanol without corn
  2. Dupont plans to make corn based plastics
  3. New corn ethanol process
  4. Fabric from corn
Nandini Chemical Journal will be publishing series of articles on global scenario for building blocks, which are the starting material for the production of a large number of derivative products. The series is commenced with the article on benzene. An article on toluene would be published in the next issue.
Benzene is normally recovered from aromatic hydrocarbon streams that also contain toluene and mixed xylenes. It is one of the largest volume petrochemicals and is the largest of the aromatics. Product Characteristics Appearance Benzene is a clear, highly refractive, flammable liquid. Chemical formula C6H6 Boiling point 80.093 deg.C Density 0.8794 kg/m3 at 20 deg.C Product applications Downstream products of Benzene include the following: Important Dowstream products Areas of Application Ethyl benzene / Styrene Polymers Cumene / phenol Feedstock for chemicalproducts Cyclohexane Feedstock for chemical products Maleic Anhydride Unsaturated polyesterresins and others Aniline Dyes & Pharmaceuticals Chloro Benzene Pesticides, Solvents, Dyes LABS Detergent Benzene Sulfonic Acid Dyes Hydroquinone Antioxidant Direct use with other Aromatic Motor Gasoline This article further discusses the following details:
  • Global installed capacity of Benzene
  • Global production of Benzene
  • Global production of Benzene in value terms
  • Pattern of global regionwise capacity
  • Major global manufacturers and their installed capacity
  • New projects and capacity expansion proposals under planning/implementation
  • Projected installed capacity
  • Regionwise price trend-Period 2007
  • Historical price trend
  • Factors influencing the price
  • Global demand
  • Regionwise demand pattern
  • Global operating rate
  • Process technology
  • Global production pattern by process route
  • Technology development
  • Prognosis
Appearance Colourless (or) slightly yellowish liquid Odour Sharp, penetrating, characteristic disagreeable odour. Molecular formula C6H5N Purity Min assay 98.0% Non volatile matter 0.02% Boiling point 115.3 deg.C Density 0.9819 gr/cm3 Solubility in water at 20 deg.C Miscible Grades Pyridine is available in two grades namely Synthetic pyridine and ACS reagent grade pyridine.

Synthetic pyridine:-

Synthetic pyridine (2 deg.C) has a 2 deg.C specification for the boiling point range, which includes the normal boiling point of Pyridine. Most 2 deg.C pyridine has a boiling point range of less than 1 deg.C and is greater than 99.8% pure by gas.

ACS reagent grade pyridine:-

Boiling point 2 Deg. C Solubility in water To pass test there is no turbidity in a 10 wt% solution in 30 min. Water, wt % not more than 0.1 Chloride, wt %  not more than 0.001 Sulphate, wt % not more than 0.001 Ammonia, wt % not more than 0.002 Copper to pass test, i.e. Ca 5 ppm Reducing substances to pass test 0.5 ml of pyridine does not entirely discharge colour 0.5 ml of 0.1 N KMnO4 in 30 min. PRODUCT APPLICATIONS Pyridine is a building block and used as a solvent in industrial organic chemistry and as reagent in organic synthesis. Pyridine has several uses in pharmaceuticals such as antibiotics, in anti-dandruff shampoos and in other agro chemical intermediates. Pyridine is an important product as it goes into the production of more than 250 APIs. Picolines which is a pyridine, is a raw material used for various chemical products particularly for Vitamin B3. 3 Cyanopyridine is further reacted to produce Niacinamide (Vitamin B6) which is used in human and animal foods. This article further discusses the following details:
  • Pyridine isomers
  • Imports of Pyridine and its salts
  1. Annual imports
  2. Countrywise imports
  • Exports of Pyridine and its salts
  1. Annual exports
  2. Countrywise exports
  • Indian manufacturers
  • Important global producers
  • Producers in China
  • Manufacturing process
  • Technology Development
  • Prognosis
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