An Introduction to the Chemical Industry

Chemistry is one of the most important fields of study nowadays, covering the basics of medicine production, being the origin of cosmetic industry, as well as forming the key element for understanding life and biochemical reactions. The knowledge of chemistry in that sense has spread in two main fields: research and industry. Each of them represents a completely different field of study, concentrating on the completion of a distinct aim. While research is mainly focusing on the chemistry as a science and the benefits that can be obtained for the people, industry mainly emphasizes the monetary value of the products. Bearing this in mind, a possible definition of chemical industry could be a manufacturer of all chemicals used further for research purposes, as well as in the market.

The most basic chemicals are bought by research laboratories of universities, institutes or companies and are used for developing different compounds. They are the most important part of the chemical industry, since without them further development would be much slower and cumbersome. This large field in the chemical industry is represented by big companies, such as Sigma Aldrich and Acros Organics, which have branches almost all over the world, Oakwood Chemical and AK Scientific, which operate mainly in the USA, Fluorochem, which is a British company, and many more all over the world.

The basic chemicals can be further used to produce pharmaceuticals in medicinal chemistry laboratories. These are first found by scientists in the research departments in pharmaceutical companies or in a laboratory working with the company to optimize the synthesis of the drug. After this there are medical trials and the medicines are patented, meaning no other company can use their method of production of the chemical, or the chemical itself, for a period of 20 years. Big companies that produce and research these pharmaceuticals are Bayer, Pfizer and Novartis, all of which have branches all over the world.

Another big part of the chemical industry focuses on the production of cosmetics. These include the flavor and flagrance industries, which are represented by companies like Bulgari and Dior, some of the most famous perfume companies. A very famous part of the cosmetics industry is represented by companies like Nivea, Dove and Loreal, which focus on production of skin cosmetics, such as crèmes, body lotions, shampoos and other similar products.

The detergents which we use every day in homes to wash clothes are also produced by chemists in a separate chemical industry. These laundry products can be found under the name of Persil, produced by Henkel or Ariel, produced by Procter & Gamble. Chemistry also participates in biochemistry, as buffer preparation and production of different chemicals needed for cell cultures, in the petroleum industry, as well as agriculture, where chemists need to produce different pesticides. Although not following the full definition of chemical industry, metallurgy also has some aspects that deal with chemical processes.

One of the biggest chemical companies in the world is BASF, which has several research departments and deals with various fields of the chemical industry. This wide range of research goes from cosmetics and pharmaceuticals to industries connected to automobile fuel, packaging and other very distinct products, all based on chemical production.

From all these parts of the industry, one could safely conclude that chemistry is a very important aspect of everyday life, as well as a big part of the scientific circle. The existence of all these different chemical companies makes people aware of the way chemistry works and helps them appreciate the work of scientists, who work every day in order to make people’s lives better.