Industrial processes are procedures involving chemical, physical, electrical or mechanical steps to aid in the manufacturing of an item or items, usually carried out on a very large scale. Industrial processes are the key components of heavy industry.
Chemical processes by main basic material
Certain chemical process yield important basic materials for society, e.g., (cement, steel, aluminum, and fertilizer). However, these chemical reactions contribute to climate change by emitting carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, through chemical reactions, as well as through the combustion of fossil fuels to generate the high temperatures needed to reach the activation energies of the chemical reactions.
Cement (the paste within concrete)
- Calcination – Limestone, which is largely composed of fossilized calcium carbonate (CaCO3), breaks down at high temperatures into useable calcium oxide (CaO) and carbon dioxide gas (CO2), which gets released as a by-product. This chemical reaction, called calcination, figures most prominently in creating cement (the paste within concrete). The reaction is also important in providing calcium oxide to act as a chemical flux (removal of impurities) within a blast furnace.
- CaCO3(s) → CaO(s) + CO2(g)
- Smelting – Inside of a blast furnace, carbon monoxide (CO) is released by combusting coke (a high-carbon derivative of coal) and removes the undesired oxygen (O) within ores. CO2 is released as a by-product, carrying away the oxygen and leaving behind the desired pure metal. Most prominently, iron smelting is how steel (largely iron with small amounts of carbon) is created from mined iron ore and coal.
- Fe2O3(s) + 3 CO(g) → 2 Fe(s) + 3 CO2(g)
- Hall–Héroult process – Aluminum oxide (Al2O3) is smelted with coke (C) in a high-temperature electrolysis reaction, yielding the desired pure aluminum (Al) and a mixture of CO and CO2.
- Al2O3(s) + 3 C(s) → 2 Al(s) + 3 CO(g)
- 2 Al2O3(s) + 3 C(s) → 4 Al(s) + 3 CO2(g)
- Haber process – Atmospheric Nitrogen (N2) is separated, yielding ammonia (NH3), which is used to make all synthetic fertilizer. The Haber process uses a fossil carbon source, generally natural gas, to provide the CO for the water-gas shift reaction, yielding hydrogen (H2) and releasing CO2. The H2 is used to break the strong triple bond in N2, yielding industrial ammonia.
- CH4(g) + H2O(g) → CO(g) + 3 H2(g)
- CO(g) + H2O(g) → H2(g) + CO2(g)
- N2(g) + 3 H2(g) → 2 NH3(g)
Other chemical processes
- Pyroprocessing – using heat to chemically combine materials, such as in cement.
- Disinfection – chemical treatment to kill bacteria and viruses.
The availability of electricity and its effect on materials gave rise to several processes for plating or separating metals.
- Gilding, electroplating, anodization, electrowinning – depositing a material on an electrode
- Electropolishing – the reverse of electroplating
- Electrofocusing – similar to electroplating, but separating molecules
- Electrolytic process – the generic process of using electrolysis
- Electrophoretic deposition – electrolytic deposition of colloidal particles in a liquid medium
- Electrotyping – using electroplating to produce printing plates
- Metallizing, plating, spin coating – the generic terms for giving non-metals a metallic coating
- Plasma cutting
- Water-jet cutting - cutting materials using a very high-pressure jet of water
- Oxyacetylene cutting
- Electrical discharge machining (EDM)
- Machining – the mechanical cutting and shaping of metal which involves the loss of the material
- Laser cutting
- Smelting and direct Reduction – extracting metals from ores.
- Forging – the shaping of metal by use of heat and hammer
- Casting – shaping of a liquid material by pouring it into moulds and letting it solidify
- Steelmaking — turning "pig iron" from smelting into steel
- Progressive stamping – the production of components from a strip or roll
- Hydroforming – a tube of metal is expanded into a mould under pressure
- Sandblasting – cleaning of a surface using sand or other particles
- Soldering, brazing, welding – a process for joining metals
- Tumble polishing – for polishing
- Precipitation hardening – heat treatment used to strengthen malleable materials
- Work hardening – adding strength to metals, alloys, etc.
- Case hardening, differential hardening, shot peening – creating a wear-resistant surface
- Die cutting – A "forme" or "die" is pressed onto a flat material in order to cut, score, punch and otherwise shape the material
- Electric arc furnace — very-high-temperature processing
Iron and steel
- Smelting – the generic process used in furnaces to produce steel, copper, etc.
- Catalan forge, open hearth furnace, bloomery, Siemens regenerative furnace – produced wrought iron
- Blast furnace – produced cast iron
- Direct Reduction – produced direct reduced iron
- Crucible steel
- Cementation process
- Bessemer process
- Basic oxygen steelmaking
The physical shaping of materials by forming their liquid form using a mould.
- Casting, sand casting – the shaping of molten metal or plastics using a mould
- Sintering, powder metallurgy – the making of objects from metal or ceramic powder
- Blow molding as in plastic containers or in the glass container industry – making hollow objects by blowing them into a mould.
- Compression molding
Many materials exist in an impure form, purification, or separation provides a usable product.
- Comminution – reduces the size of physical particles (it exists between crushing and grinding)
- Froth flotation, flotation process – separating minerals through flotation
- Liquid–liquid extraction – dissolving one substance in another
- Frasch process – for extracting molten sulfur from the ground
- Fractional distillation, steam distillation, vacuum distillation
- Batch distillation
- Continuous distillation
- Fractionating column
- Spinning cone
In additive manufacturing, material is progressively added to the piece until the desired shape and size are obtained.
- Fused deposition modeling (FDM)
- Stereolithography (SLA)
- Selective laser sintering (SLS)
Petroleum and organic compounds
The nature of an organic molecule means it can be transformed at the molecular level to create a range of products.
- Cracking (chemistry) – the generic term for breaking up the larger molecules
- Alkylation – refining of crude oil
- Burton process – cracking of hydrocarbons
- Cumene process – making phenol and acetone from benzene
- Friedel-Crafts reaction, Kolbe-Schmitt reaction
- Olefin metathesis, thermal depolymerization
- Transesterification – organic chemicals
- Raschig process for production of hydroxylamine – part of the process to produce nylon
- Oxo process – Produces aldehydes from alkenes
Organized by product
- Aluminium – ( Hall-Héroult process, Deville process, Bayer process, Wöhler process)
- Ammonia, used in fertilizer – (Haber process)
- Bromine – (Dow process)
- Chlorine, used in chemicals – (chloralkali process, Weldon process, Hooker process)
- Fat – (rendering)
- Fertilizer – (nitrophosphate process)
- Glass – (Pilkington process)
- Gold – (bacterial oxidation, Parkes process)
- Graphite – (Acheson process)
- Heavy water, used to refine radioactive products – (Girdler sulfide process)
- Hydrogen – (water–gas shift reaction, steam reforming)
- Lead (and Bismuth) – (Betts electrolytic process, Betterton-Kroll process)
- Nickel – (Mond process)
- Nitric acid – (Ostwald process)
- Paper – (pulping, Kraft process, Fourdrinier machine)
- Rubber – (vulcanization)
- Salt – (Alberger process, Grainer evaporation process)
- Semiconductor crystals – (Bridgman–Stockbarger method, Czochralski method)
- Silver – (Patio process, Parkes process)
- Silicon carbide – (Acheson process, Lely process)
- Sodium carbonate, used for soap – (Leblanc process, Solvay process, Leblanc-Deacon process)
- Sulfuric acid – (lead chamber process, contact process)
- Titanium – (Hunter process, Kroll process)
- Zirconium – (Hunter process, Kroll process, van Arkel–de Boer process)
A list by process:
- Alberger process, Grainer evaporation process – produces salt from brine
- Bacterial oxidation – used to produce gold
- Bayer process – the extraction of aluminium from ore
- Chloralkali process, Weldon process – for producing chlorine and sodium hydroxide
- Dow process – produces bromine from brine
- Girdler sulfide process – for making heavy water
- Hunter process, Kroll process – produces titanium and zirconium
- Industrial rendering – the separation of fat from bone and protein
- Lead chamber process, contact process – production of sulfuric acid
- Mond process – nickel
- Nitrophosphate process – a number of similar process for producing fertilizer
- Ostwald process – produces nitric acid
- Pidgeon process – produces magnesium, reducing the oxide using silicon
- Steam reforming, water gas shift reaction – produce hydrogen and carbon monoxide from methane or hydrogen and carbon dioxide from water and carbon monoxide
- Vacuum metalising – a finishing process
- Van Arkel–de Boer process – for producing titanium, zirconium, hafnium, vanadium, thorium or protactinium
- Formox process – oxidation of methanol to produce formaldehyde