are that acrylonitrile touches everyone in some way every day. Acrylonitrile
is the key ingredient in the acrylic fiber used to make clothing and
carpeting; in acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS), a durable material
used in automobile components, telephone and computer casings, and
sports equipment; and in nitrile rubber, which is used in the manufacture
of hoses for pumping fuel.
is used to produce plastics that are impermeable to gases and are
ideal for shatterproof bottles that hold chemicals and cosmetics,
clear "blister packs" that keep meats fresh and medical
supplies sterile, and packaging for many other products. It is also
a component in plastic resins, paints, adhesives, and coatings.
acrylonitrile in those products was made by a process discovered
and developed in the 1950s by scientists and engineers at The Standard
Oil Company, or Sohio, which became part of British Petroleum (BP)
in 1987. The process is a single-step direct method for manufacturing
acrylonitrile from propylene, ammonia, and air over a fluidized
discovery and commercialization of this process were the result
of the talent, imagination, teamwork, and risk-taking by Sohio's
employees. Sohio's discovery led to the production of plentiful
and inexpensive acrylonitrile of high purity as a raw material and
to dramatic growth in the thermoplastics, synthetic fiber, and food
packaging industries. Today more than 95% of the world's acrylonitrile
is produced by BP or made under its license.