Outline the role of a chemist employed in a named industry or enterprise, identifying the branch of chemistry undertaken by the chemist and explaining a chemical principle that the chemist uses
Gather, process and present information from secondary sources about the work of practising scientists identifying:
- the variety of chemical occupations
- a specific chemical occupation for a more detailed study
The role of a plant chemist working in the polymer industry, concerned with the conversion of ethane to ethylene and the polymerisation of ethylene to polyethylene, would involve:
- Tasks such as:
- Monitoring the quality of the ethylene and polyethylene products, particularly checking for impurities.
- Monitoring waste-water from the production process to ensure that environmental standards are being met.
- Adjusting operating conditions in order to optimise product yields (involves collaborating with process engineers at the cracking furnace).
- Analytical chemistry: The branch of chemistry concerned with determining the species present and the quantities of each species in a sample.
- Using the technique of gas chromatography, including gas-solid chromatography and gas-liquid chromatography.
- Gas chromatography: A form of chromatography in which the mobile phase is gaseous, being a mixture vaporised into a stream of helium.
- In gas chromatography, once the mobile phase has flowed over the stationary phase in a tube or column, a detector quantitatively analyses each substance that passes out.
- Gas-solid chromatography: A form of gas chromatography in which the stationary phase is a solid.
- Gas-liquid chromatography: A form of gas chromatography in which the stationary phase is liquid.
- Using the principles of adsorption (for gas-solid chromatography) and dissolution (for gas-liquid chromatography):
- Adsorption: The attachment of an adsorbate to the surface of an absorbent, which can occur due to the formation of a chemical bond or due to much weaker intermolecular forces (van der Waals forces).
- In gas-solid chromatography, the components of the mobile phase adsorb on to the solid stationary phase to differing extents.
- Dissolution: The process in which a solute dissolves in a solvent to form a solution.
- In gas-liquid chromatography, the components of the mobile phase dissolve in the stationary phase to different extents.
Burhan Gemikonakli has the role of Plant Chemist, as outlined above, at Qenos, a major Australian chemical manufacturing company located at Botany, New South Wales (Source: ‘Conquering Chemistry’ by Roland Smith)