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Hydrocarbon Solvents

When I was a project/chemical engineer working in the oil and gas industry 6 years ago, one of my critical tasks is to manage the specialty chemical matters. This is an area which requires a person with chemistry or chemical engineering background. I was fortunate because the company I worked with is attached with a well known and established international specialty chemical manufacturer. Hence, I learned a lot of chemicals and its formulation from the principal company. There are various specialty chemicals available for numerous industrial applications such as corrosion inhibitors, degreaser, scale inhibitors, descaler, deoiler and others. Among the chemicals that I frequently handled is the corrosion inhibitor. The corrosion inhibitor is used in the internal pipeline chemical cleaning project awarded to us to lengthen the lifespan of the gas and condensate pipelines from corrosion threat. The corrosion inhibitor concentrate, which comes in drums of 200 liters will be then blended with either water or hydrocarbon solvents to the desired concentration. The chemical blending was made on-site by the staffs. After the blending is completed, I will check the final corrosion inhibitor blending via bottle and emulsion test. Blending the chemical using water is not as complicated as using hydrocarbon solvents.

When blending using hydrocarbon solvent, I need to identify which solvent best suits the chemical. I also need to consider the economic as well as the safety aspect. Hence, for me, there is an importance to know about hydrocarbon solvents. One way to learn about it is from the material safety data sheet (MSDS). Besides that, I also always refer to the notes and my principal for further explanation or analysis.

Basically, there is a wide range of hydrocarbon solvents which include aliphatics, paraffins, aromatics, blends, mineral spirits and others. There are also daily used items that relies on hydrocarbon solvents such as adhesives & sealants, paints & coatings, dry cleaning fluids, insecticides, edible oils and tyres. A simple and common example is when we mix kerosene into the paint concentrate when we paint the walls of our house. Kerosene is one type of popular hydrocarbons, which is also the fuel for aeroplanes.

On top of that, other application of hydrocarbon solvent includes cleaning or dissolving water-insoluble substances such as greases and oils. Due to their high toxicity and persistence in nature, their use in industrial processes is restricted. The solvent must also be stored safely in a dry cool shady place and well ventilated area, far from heat and sunlight. This is to avoid them reaching their flash points which may lead to possible explosion.

It was really nice experience learning and being exposed to the specialty chemicals and various hydrocarbon solvents. It is indeed a huge market and a profitable area to be in. Don't you think so?

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posted by Kipas Repair JB @ 12:43 AM,


At Saturday, March 26, 2011, Anonymous Matlab Tutorial Guy said...


Nice post. At least I learn something and know how crucial and important hydrocarbon solvent too us...and the environment,


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The Author


I’m Zaki. I used to be a project, process and chemical engineer. Few years ago I successfully became a Chartered Engineer (IChemE) and Professional Engineer (BEM). I'm now employed as a chemical engineering educator/researcher/consultant. Hope you like reading my blog. I welcome any feedback from you. My email: zaki.yz[alias]gmail.com. TQ!

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