Category Archives: Chemical Industry

The chemical landscape changes: Dow and DuPont merge and unscramble

For those of us who have followed the development of the U.S. chemical industry for a number of decades, the newly announced “blockbuster” Dow-DuPont deal is the latest fascinating development. Here is a synopsis of industry history (Time periods are approximate): 1900 … Continue reading

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Promising startups using novel chemistry

 In its November 2, 2015 issue, Chemical and Engineering News described ten new startups that show considerable promise. One of these, Bolt Threads, which has discovered how to make synthetic silk, was covered in my June 8th, 2015 post. Like … Continue reading

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3D Printing advancing rapidly

As I have pointed out before, there should be more appreciation of the key role that chemistry is playing in today’s high tech world. The most obvious areas are in electronics where a multitude of polymers and other chemicals are used in the manufacture … Continue reading

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Making “Petrochemicals” without petroleum feedstocks: China successfully uses coal

Ethylene has historically been the most important petrochemical building block: a highly reactive molecule made by the high temperature cracking of hydrocarbons ranging from ethane to heavy gas liquids. This is actually not a specific process in that it produces a number of other … Continue reading

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Rare earths revisited: Monopoly broken but security issues remain

As readers of my blog know, I have an abiding interest in rare earth metals, since they are such a fundamental source of technology for use in computers, TV and other displays, windmills, medical imaging….the list goes on and on.  As … Continue reading

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Projecting carbon fiber composites for mass auto market: Several factors are involved

This blog has periodically posted articles on the growing use of carbon fiber composites, noting their strength and light weight, relative to steel, and their downside of high cost.  These materials are now in prime use in large airliners and in … Continue reading

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Finally: Synthetic silk!

Historically, garments and other textiles were made from natural fibers, principally cotton, wool and silk. Of these, silk was the most prized for its strength, dyeability, and smooth, non-slippery texture. But its supply was very limited as it was the product of the … Continue reading

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Ellen Kullman’s big win needs applause

After a long, bruising battle with hedge fund Trian Partners and Nelson Peltz, Dupont’s management headed by CEO Ellen Kullman soundly defeated an attempt by the investment fund to gain seats on the DuPont board with the stated purpose of … Continue reading

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Crude price staying down: Thanks to fracking “learning curve” and chemicals

 Like duelling banjos, the U.S. and Saudi oil producers have been carrying out a spirited contest to see who first cries “Uncle” (My apologies for these metaphors). When crude prices first started to plunge from the                $ 100/bbl level, the … Continue reading

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End of an era: Dow spins off chlor-alkali

Dow Chemical has agreed to sell its Chlor-alkali assets and associated derivatives businesses to Olin Corporation in a transaction that in one stroke separates Dow from its main heritage business and makes Olin the largest domestic chlor-alkali producer. Dow will … Continue reading

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