What are the major petrochemicals processes to form the intermediate compounds (second generation petrochemicals), with examples?
Petrochemical intermediates are generally produced by chemical conversion of primary petrochemicals to form more complicated derivative products.
Petrochemical derivative products can be made in a variety of ways: directly from primary petrochemicals; through intermediate products which still contain only carbon and hydrogen; and, through intermediates which incorporate chlorine, nitrogen or oxygen in the finished derivative. In some cases, they are finished products; in others, more steps are needed to arrive at the desired composition.
Of all the processes used, one of the most important is polymerization. It is used in the production of plastics, fibers and synthetic rubber, the main finished petrochemical derivatives.
Some typical petrochemical intermediates are:
vinyl acetate for paint, paper and textile coatings
vinyl chloride for polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
ethylene glycol for polyester textile fibers
styrene which is important in rubber and plastic manufacturing.