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Oil, gas and petrochemical process industries

    Aluminium and catalyst

    Talib Al_Munawri
    Talib Al_Munawri

    Posts : 337
    Join date : 2009-07-03
    Age : 31
    Location : Sultanate of Oman

    Aluminium and catalyst Empty Aluminium and catalyst

    Post by Talib Al_Munawri on Fri Sep 04, 2009 9:46 am

    Aluminium & Catalyst

    Aluminium is the most abundant on Earth
    Its main ore is bauxite, which is aluminium oxide mixed with
    impurities like sand and iron oxide. The impurities make it reddish brown.

    These are the steps in obtaining aluminium;

    When a company discovers bauxite, it does a feasibility study to
    see if mining will be profitable. If yes, the mine is constructed
    and mining begins

    Bauxite is usually lies near the surface, so it is easy to dig up.

    From the mine, the ore is taken to a bauxite plant, where it
    is treated to remove the impurities. The result is white aluminium oxide,
    or alumina.

    The alumina is taken to another plant for exctrolyses.
    Here is electrolyzed to give aluminium.

    The final product is aluminium for beer cans, cooking foil, racing bikes, aeroplanes and so on.

    A closer look at the electrolyses.

    The electrolysis is carried out in a huge steel tank.
    The tank is lined with graphite, which acts as the cathode.
    Huge blocks of graphite hang in the middle of the tank,
    and act as anodes.

    Pure alumina melts at 2045 degrees Celsius.
    It would be expensive, and dangerous, to keep the tank at
    that temperature. Instead, the alumina is dissolved in
    molten cryolite for the electrolyses (Cryolite is another
    aluminium compound, with a much lower melting point)

    Catalysts in industry

    In industry many reactions are endothermic.
    Energy must be put in to make them happen.
    The energy may come from oil, gas, coal or electricity. But in any case it’s expensive. It’s one of the biggest costs industry faces.

    With a catalyst, a reaction goes faster at a given temperature.
    That means you get your product faster, saving money and therefore money.
    Even better, it may go fast enough at a lower temperature.
    And that means a lower fuel bill and higher profits.

    So catalysts can turn an uneconomic process into a profitable one.
    This makes them very important in industry.

    Although a catalyst is not itself chemically changed in a reaction,
    it does absorb impurities. This eventually stops it being active.
    So the beds of catalyst in a chemical plant are replaced from time to time.

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