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Basics of the Chemical Industry

Source: AIChE
  • Course ID:
  • Type:
    eLearning (online) Course
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  • Duration:
    4.5 hours
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The chemical industry value chain is complex. In this online course, you’ll gain a high-level review of the manufacture and markets for roughly 70 important products and intermediates, including 22 with simplified equipment flow diagrams. Throughout the course, you’ll make the connections from raw basic materials to components into the consumer market.

You’ll start with a brief review of important polymers - the end game for much of our industry. Then, you’ll look at characterizing fossil fuels - oil, gas and coal - and their abundance and markets. You’ll discuss biomass as a chemical feedstock and steam crackers before turning to chemical derivatives from coal and natural gas, such as methanol, acetic acid and others. You’ll also consider derivatives from ethylene, propylene, mixed C4 streams, and aromatics. The course concludes with a review of other important processes such as ammonia and chlor-alkali.



Gary Sawyer, P.E.

Gary Sawyer, P.E., has more than 35 years of experience in the chemical industry, most of which have been supporting business and R&D decision analysis using process design, economic evaluations, and competitive technology assessments.  He was previously employed by Lyondell Chemical (formerly ARCO Chemical), and by Union Carbide prior to that.  He is now a consultant practicing as Process Evaluations LLC (  He holds a B.S. and M.S. degree in chemical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic...Read more



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