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Extracts from Nandini Chemical Journal, Jul 2008

1,4 butanediol|Nonene|Phosphogypsum
Highlights of Some of the Articles

TALK OF THE MONTH
I,4 BUTANEDIOL – GLOBAL SCENARIO
SPOTLIGHT ON SPECIALITY CHEMICAL – NONENE
PHOSPHOGYPSUM – PRODUCT PROFILE
STATE OF ENGINEERING EDUCATION IN INDIA
OTHER ARTICLES

Talk of the Month

IMPORTANCE OF GLOBAL MANAGERS FOR CHEMICAL INDUSTRIES

With the globalization of economy and WTO regulations causing impact around the world , it has become necessary for every chemical industry, whether they are of large or medium capacity, to position themselves in appropriate manner to function effectively in the international arena.

The executives in chemical industry, both at senior and medium level, have to necessarily develop global mind set, which has become the precondition for survival and progress of the industry. In the process of developing global mind set, understanding of national culture and nuances of doing business in different
countries have to be gained.

The development of the mind set of the executives to think globally would be the important key to their career success. While number of Indian chemical industries particularly in the pharma sector, have readjusted themselves exceeding well to the demand for globalization, the fact remains that quiet a few units have not been able to cope up with the “globalization pressure” due to their inability to readjust themselves for the newly developing conditions.

Even internationally, several multi national organizations have found it difficult to adequately equip themselves and mould the mind set of the executives to operate in the global arena, particularly in the developing countries of Africa and Asia. Operating in the global spheres not only concern issues relating to technology and engineering practices, but also several other aspects such as culture, priorities and preferences of the local population and policy approach of the government in different regions. Such aspects are apparently unrelated to the operations of chemical industries but still have enormous significance to the stability, profitability and progress of the ventures in the long run.

In the international business transactions, for taking important decisions these days, faith and goodwill developed due to long relationships and successful confidence building measures play a very important role.

Therefore, personal relationships and connections are critical factors and the executives should be able to build understanding and working relationship with the decision makers in companies located in other countries. It has been repeatedly seen that the executives who have the required technical and financial expertise but lacking in skill to develop and establish personal relationship and trust, have found it difficult to succeed in the global business transactions. Local contacts in different countries and multi lingual capability of the executives has become an asset for the organizations in international business dealings and discussions.

While it is agreed that English is the language of global business, at the same time some knowledge and familiarity of the local language of the country in which
the company wants to do business would help in a significant way in concluding the transactions successfully.

In future, as the interdependence between the companies operating in different regions would become more, the companies would increasingly look for executives who can thrive on team work in multi racial setups with multi lingual capability.

The companies are now realizing that it is necessary to train the executives to take up international assignments, particularly amongst those involved in functions such as corporate planning, marketing, finance and business promotion. The companies do understand that they have to liberally provide exposure to the executives to international forums whenever subtle opportunities would arise.

There are enormous career opportunities emerging in international business organizations, particularly for those from Asia and African countries, since there is some sort of reluctance amongst the executives from European countries and America to work in the developing countries for long period.

In such scenario, training institutes have to be built in India with the objective of creating global managers Chemical Industries Associations in India should play a role in promoting the concept of global managers amongst the chemical industries and serve as bridge between the management institutes and chemical industries.

Orientation programme for global management in chemical industries require particular care and planning. The present time is ripe for taking the initiatives.

I,4 BUTANEDIOL – GLOBAL SCENARIO

Product characteristics

CAS NO 

110-63-4

Physical state

clear viscous liquid

Specific gravity   

1.017

Producer’s specification

Name of the producer         Lyondell Chemicals, USA

Parameter

Value

Purity

99.5 %

Water Maximum

– 400 ppm

Carbonyl as CHO

0.3 mg KOH / gram

Physical state

Clear viscous liquid

Product Application

1,4-Butanediol (BDO) is an intermediate chemical that is used in the production of chemicals and polymers.

Application sector

End use

Tetrahydrofuran (THF)

PTMEG to Spandex fibres, Solvents

Themoplastic polyurethane (TPU)

Synthetic leather Sole material

Polybutylene terephthalate (PBT)

Engineering plastic – various PBT compounding materials N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP) (Extraction solvent, cleaning agent used in the electronics industry, polyaramids)

Gamma-butyrolactone (GBL)

 2-pyrrolidone (pharmaceutical Intermediates and high value polymers)n-vinyl-2- pyrrolidone(polyvinyl pyrrolidone) Agrochemicals Foundry resins Elastomers and copolyester ethers.

This article further discusses the following details :

  • Global installed capacity
  • Important global producers and their installed capacity
  • Closures
  • New Projects
  • Demand drivers and growth rate
  • Demand analysis
  • Global demand & pattern regionwise demand
  • Applicationwise demand of Butanediol
  • Process technology
  • Indian scenario
SPOTLIGHT ON SPECIALITY CHEMICAL – NONENE

Nonene is a branched olefin produced by the polymerization of propylene. Nonene is treated with antioxidants before onward shipment. Nonene should be stored under nitrogen blanketing.

Chemical Formula   C9H18
 C-H3-(C-H2)6-C-H:C-H2
CAS No        27215-95-8
Alternate name Nonene Propylene Trimer
 Tripropylene
Appearance       Liquid, colourless
Odour     Strong gasoline odour
Boiling point 144 to 150 deg. C
Specific gravity (water =1)   0.73
Solubility Insoluble in water. Soluble in alcohol
Stability     Stable at normal temperature and pressure

Producer’s Specification

Name of the producer Shell Chemicals

 

Units

Minimum

Maximum

Appearance

 

Clear substance

Free of suspended matter

Color PT-Co

 

 

10 Max

Olefins

%(V)

98.0

 

Peroxides

ppm

 

10

Water

ppm

 

10

Sulfur

PPM

5 Max

 

Inhibitor

ppm

25

75

Product Application

Nonene is used in the production of chemical intermediates, which are used in the production of plasticisers, detergents and coatings.

This article further discusses the following details :

  • Application sector
  • Global producers
  • Global capacity
  • Global production
  • Growth rate in demand
  • Demand for Nonene
  • Manufacturing process
  • Environmental issues
PHOSPHOGYPSUM - PRODUCT PROFILE

Phosphogypsum is produced as by product in the manufacture of phosphoric acid. Approximately four to five tonnes of phosphogypsum are generated for every tonne of phosphoric acid produced. Phosphogypsum is the raw material for the production of phosphogysum panel used in building construction industry.

Environmental issues involved in use of phosphogypsum panel

There are environmental issues involved in the use of phosphogypsum.

Phosphogypsum is a radioactive waste product that results from processing phosphate ore to make phosphoric acid. Many of the impurities present in phosphogypsum are enriched in the smallest gypsum particles. Among these impurities are mercury, the common heavy metals, the radionuclides and the lanthanides.

Radium and uranium as well as minor amounts of toxic metals,such as arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury, selenium and silver and phytotoxic fluoride and aluminum are also present in phosphogypsum.

Phosphogypsum often contains (226)Ra, which decays into (222)Rn through an alpha transformation. (222)Rn emanated from the (226)Ra-bearing phosphogypsum board has drawn the public concern due to its potential radiological impact to indoor occupants.

This article further discusses the following details :

  • Regionwise production pattern
  • Regulations
  • Global production of phosphogypsum
  • Present global disposal pattern
  • Global utilisation of Reprocessed Phosphogypsum
  • Global utilisation pattern of reprocessed phosphogypsum
  • Phosphogypsum panel
  • Global production of Phosphogypsum panel
  • Process technology for phosphogypsum panel
  • Demand driver
  • Prognosis
  • Project plan of FACT
STATE OF ENGINEERING EDUCATION IN INDIA

Contributed by: Ms.V. Nandini, Graduate Student,
Materials Science & Engineering, University of Arizona, Tucson, USA
E-mail: nandu.raman@gmail.com

I read with considerable interest the study made by Nandini Voice For The Deprived on State of Engineering Education in Tamil Nadu. The findings of the study can be seen in nandinivoice.org

Being a fairly recent Chemical Engineering graduate from an average-quality institution and having had two very different academic experiences in India and the US, I feel that I have a fairly good vantage point to comment on the situation.

Several points that are made in the study strike a chord with me.

I consider my experience as a chemical engineering student in Central Electro Chemical Research Institute (CECRI) at Karaikudi in Tamil Nadu to be fairly representative of other engineering graduates in  Tamil Nadu.

I was only able to assess the quality of education I had received in CECRI, when I came to the US and struggled in my first semester. Engineering education in India is a lot more qualitative than it should be, with inadequate emphasis on numerical ability! The knowledge level, thinking ability and creativity of many of the teachers is so poor that they are able to add very little value to their students.

To add to the problem, few teachers update themselves and still use outdated textbooks from the 1970s for their classes. My first revelation on this aspect came when I took thermodynamics, a very important subject to most engineers, in my first semester in USA and realized that I had to completely re learn many basic concepts!

Quality of students

The problem is compounded by the quality of students that come into these colleges and their interest levels. Institutes like IITs take great care in the quality of students they select and hence produce good engineers. Other institutions select the “second-tier” students and produce mediocre engineers, with very little value addition in terms of thinking and problem solving ability.

Besides, getting an engineering degree has become a default course of action in many instances, rather than a thoughtful decision, as it should be.

The students are frequently propelled into an engineering career by peer pressure, family pressure and poor guidance in high school. I have known several instances where the decision is made for the student by family and friends! If there are reliable statistics on the demand-supply situation for engineers in India, I have not seen them and it is certainly not widely known, making it extremely difficult for the student to make informed decisions.

Need for creative thinking

Creativity and original thinking are often acquired qualities and not necessarily inherent and they are certainly some of the most important qualities a good engineer must possess.

Creative thinking is rarely encouraged in our high school system of education, which encourages memorizing. I know of people, who are still able to recite text from our high school physics textbook, after so many years!! If schools and colleges do not take a creative, problem solving and numerical approach to teaching engineering, how is it reasonable to expect to produce quality engineers?

Disadvantage for rural based students

Very often, one finds that students from large cities and those who come from families with educated parents are able to find jobs a lot more easily than students from rural areas, mostly because of their communication abilities and not necessarily due to their technical superiority.

It is extremely unfortunate that the abilities, skills and consequently opportunities, should depend on the person’s family background!

It is the duty of the schools and colleges to devise methods to identify shortcomings and bridge such gaps. Time and resources will be better spent in doing this, rather than making policies on reservations, which only serve to increase tension and unrest in the society, not to mention, create shortcuts.

Lack of demand supply analysis

On the subject of traditional engineering courses such as Chemical and Civil engineering, while it is true that the number of seats are being reduced every  year, it is also true that many of the existing engineers in  core subjects like chemical engineering are also struggling to find relevant jobs and a lot of them end up in unrelated jobs. So, is it really necessary to increase the number of engineering seats and have more unemployed engineers?

Does anyone know (in the Dept. of education, Indian Institute of Engineers, AICTE or others), what is the current and projected demand for engineers in India? Unless a systematic demand-supply analysis is done, there is no way in the world to make the right decision on increasing or decreasing the number of seats.

I think management courses are receiving ample attention with every college, big and small, offering many courses. If we are not careful, there might come a time when we will have to rethink that as well.

However, it is true that many courses, particularly in the humanities are being largely ignored at the graduate level, probably because colleges do not take efforts to project them and glamorize them! Very few people go into humanities today out of genuine interest.

Accountability from the teachers

At the minimum, until the quality of teaching/ teachers is improved and efforts are made in schools and colleges to improve communication skills, India will continue to produce unemployable engineers. This should really not come as a surprise to anyone - it would only be a natural consequence of the system.

Better accountability from teachers is extremely important. To improve accountability, one of the things they do in the universities in USA is to request teaching evaluations from students at the end of every course, as a matter of routine. Based on these evaluations, there have been instances where teachers
with inadequate abilities have been barred from teaching the course any further and replacements are found. I think Dr. Radhakrishnan, the former President of India suggested similar things a long time back.

If the system of education continues as it is, we will merely be “mass producing” engineers, at best.

OTHER ARTICLES
  • Uranium Mining in India
  • World’s biggest and model N-reactor in Finland
  • Safety & Accident Page
  • Update on Carbon Trading
  • Anti Dumping Page
  • E-filing of Patents – Progress and Limitations
  • Soaring Sulphur Price Upset Industry
  • Update on Biofuel
  • Bio reactor for solid waste management
  • Continuous Electrodeionisation Technology (CEDI) for Water Treatment
  • Research Projects of BASF
  • Metholdology of Filtering in the Cleanrooms
  • Update on Solar Energy
  • Fuel Crisis - An Opportunity to Utilize Carbon dioxide
  • China News
  • News Round Up – International & India
  • Technology Development – International & India
  • Agro Chemical Page
  • Environmental Page
  • Pharma Page
  • Energy Page
  • Business Opportunities
  • Tender
  • Ask for the Chemical Facts Free
  • Price Details - International
  • New Projects - International
  • Directory of International Biotechnology Organisations
  • Chemicals Imported at Chennai Port during the month of April 2008
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