Inorganic chemicals is the shortened form of inorganic chemical industry and is an important branch of the chemical industry with natural resources and industrial by-products as raw materials for the production of sulfuric acid, nitric acid, hydrochloric acid, phosphoric acid, soda ash, caustic soda, synthetic ammonia, fertilizer and inorganic salts, etc. This includes sulfuric acid industry, soda industry, the chloro-alkali industry, synthetic ammonia industry, fertilizer industry and mineral industry. Its broad definition also includes the production of inorganic non-metallic materials and fine inorganic product such as ceramics and inorganic pigment. The main raw material of inorganic chemical products are mineral product including sulfur, sodium, phosphorus, potassium and calcium and coal, oil, gas, and air, water and so on.
Inorganic chemicals can be traced back to the ancient process of ceramics, alchemy, brewing, dyeing at thousands of years ago. Although with small scale, backward technology and pure manual manipulation, but it is the prototype of inorganic chemicals. For thousands of years, due to the low productivity, it gets slow development. Until the 18th century, it had developed rapidly. In the middle of 18th century, Britain had first applied lead chamber method using saltpeter and sulfur as raw materials to produce sulfuric acid. In 1783, Lu Bulan (France) proposed the soda method using sodium chloride, sulfuric acid, coal as raw materials. In the latter half of the 18th century, the modern chemical industry taking inorganic chemical industry as the main content had began to emerge. In 1841, people began the production of phosphate fertilizer; In 1965 Belgian Solvay realized the industrialization of ammonia soda for production of soda; with the rise of preparing potassium industry in 1870; In 1890, people began to use electrolytic approach for making Cl2 and caustic soda;
In 1913, people had achieved the catalytic synthesis of ammonia using N2, H2 as raw materials; In 1942, Chinese experts Hou Debang had successfully developed Hou’s process for making soda. After the 1950s, the inorganic chemical industry had flourished with the endless emergence of vastly different inorganic chemical products and with changing them day by day; the inorganic chemical process also will continue to improve, becoming more and more mature.
The main content of inorganic chemicals:
(1) include inorganic chemical technology including acids, bases, salts, ammonia and chemical fertilizers;
(2) include electrochemical technology including the electrical production of caustic soda, chlorine, electrolysis hydrogen and oxygen, wet electrical metallurgical production and electrothermal production of the calcium carbide, calcium cyanamide and phosphorus;
(3) including the production technology of silicate including glass, ceramic and cement;
(4) including refinement inorganic chemical process such as reagent, medicament and trace element.