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Book Review Survey of Industrial Chemistry. 2nd Revised Edition. By P. J. Chenier

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Book Reviews
Survey of Industrial Chemistry. 2nd Revised Edition. By P. J.
Chenier. VCH Publishers, New York, 1992. XV, 527 pp.,
hardcover $95.00, softcover $45.00.--ISBN 1-56081082-311-56081-622-8
A common complaint in the chemical community is that,
even though most chemists work in industry, chemistry is
taught as though all graduate chemists would pursue academic careers. Philip Chenier has undertaken to do something
about this situation. He has written an advanced undergraduate text that broadly surveys the American chemical industry. The book contains a substantial business perspective in
addition to describing how most major industrial chemicals
are made and used. The primary intended audience is the
chemist who will move into business-orientated employment
such as sales or technical service rather than getting an advanced degree. Simultaneously, though, it can provide a useful introduction to industry even for someone anticipating
an academic career.
This Survev qf Industrial Chemistry presents an enormous
mass of information. It contains not just a compendium of
chemical process technology, but also statistics on the size
and scope of the chemical industry, salaries of U. S. chemists,
and the sales of the top fifty chemical companies. Chenier
has made a significant and largely successful effort to present
current data and perspectives on the industry. The information seems to be current through 1990.
The process of packing so much information into a volume affordable by a student has led to a terse writing style.
The body of the volume tends to present the Facts without the
many little anecdotes that might enliven the presentation.
Nevertheless it is moderately readable and presents useful
perspective not just on how a chemical is made but also on
how it is used and what its economic prospects may be. The
discussion of manufacturing technology contains many photographs of production facilities and laboratories. The process discussions are clarified with abundant chemical equations and formulas. There are a number of typographical
errors in the equations, but they d o not usually cause problems for the reader.
The subject matter of the book spans the whole chemical
industry, including fields as diverse as pharmaceuticals, plasAnges.. Chrm. Inl. Ed. Engl. 1993, 32.
No. 7
tics, elastomers, mineral products, wood products, and detergents. The greatest attention is given to the fifty largest
volume chemicals, but the selection seems repesentative of
the industry as a whole. There is a timely and useful section
on current environmental and health issues facing the chemical community. Throughout, the author presents a positive
but realistic view of the chemical industry.
The survey of individual chemical products, which makes
up the greatest part of the book, employs a standard format
for each major chemical. For each, there is a discussion of
both historic and current manufacturing processes with some
perspective on technology trends. For example, the section
on acetic acid includes discussion of the obsolescent ethylenebased Wacker process, the oxidation of butane to acetic acid,
and the now preferred methanol carbonylation. For each process, the author presents a summary equation, the usual process conditions, and the separation and purification technology. For major processes such as the catalytic carbonylation
of methanol there are also sketches of what is known about
the reaction mechanism. The process descriptions are followed
by summaries of the uses of the compounds together with
key physical properties. The book also lists the production
volumes and approximate prices for major chemicals.
The Survey ojhdustrial Chemistry is in many respects a
mini-encyclopedia of the chemical industry. It meets its goal
as a tool for the teacher of a business-orientated chemistry
course, but it is also a useful reference source for anyone with
a broad interest in the practice of industrial chemistry. The
level of detail is not great, but it provides leading references
to up-to-date chemical encyclopedias and review articles.
After almost forty years in industrial chemistry, I found that
I had much to learn from this book. I expect to use it extensively as a general reference source in the near future.
George M.: Parshall
DuPont Co.
Wilmington, DE (USA)
Comprehensive Organic Synthesis. Selectivity, Strategy and
Efficiency in Modern Organic Chemistry. Volumes 1-9.
(Series editor: B. M . Trost. Pergamon, Oxford, 1991.
CCVI, 10196pp., hardcover E 1950.00, $3900.00.ISBN 0-08-035929-9; Volume 1: Additions to C-X RBonds, Part 1. Edited by S. L. Schreiber. XXI, 989 pp.ISBN 0-08-040592-4; Volume 2: Additions to C-X nBonds, Part 2. Edited by C. H . Heathcock. XXIII,
1233 pp.-ISBN 0-08-040593-2; Volume 3: Carbon-Carbon a-Bond Formation. Edited by G. Pattenden. XXI,
1186 pp.-ISBN 0-08-040594-0; Volume 4: Additions to
and Substitutions at C-C n-Bonds. Edited by M . I?
Semmelhack. XXI, 1299 pp.---ISBN 0-08-040595-9; Volume 5: Combining C-C n-Bonds. Edited by L. A . Paquette.
XXV, 1333 pp.-ISBN 0-08-040596-7; Volume 6: Heteroatom Manipulation. Edited by E. WinterjeIdt. XXI,
1194 pp.-ISBN 0-08-040597-5; Volume 7: Oxidation.
Edited by S. V. Ley. XXV, 1012 pp.-ISBN 0-08040598-3 ; Volume 8: Reduction. Edited by I . Fleming.
XXV, 1139 pp.-ISBN 0-08-040599-1;Volume 9: Cumulative Indexes. XV, 81 1 pp.-ISBN 0-08-040600-9
Volume 1
Volume 1 of Comprehensive Organic Synthesis is essentially concerned with the chemistry of carbanions. This volume
is divided into three different sections: “NonstabiIized Car-
$> VCH Verlu~sgesellsrhafimhH, 0-69451 Wrinheim, 1993
0570-0833/93/0707-l095$10.00+ .2S/li
1095
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