A marked increase in production of solvents from petroleum raw materials has occurred in the United States during the past decade. This paper discusses the various solvents currently in production from petroleum with emphasis placed on their industrial applications. Routes by which solvents are synthesized from the principal Cl to C5 paraffins and olefins are briefly outlined and principal application of individual solvents are listed. Important fields of application including automotive, plastics, protective coatings, drugs and cosmetics, petroleum processing, inks and miscellaneous smaller fields are discussed from bhe standpoint of the solvents used therein.

Listings of the common physical and chemical properties are omitted but special properties leading to the choice of solvents for particular fields of applications are presented.


Au cours des dix dernières années la production de solvants à partir de matières premières tirées dii pétrole a marqué un accroissement notable aux Etats-Unis. Le présent exposé traite des divers solvants à base de pétrole de fabrication courante en insistant sur leurs applications industrielles. On y indique sommairement les voies par lesquelles on obtient par synthèse des solvants à partir des paraffines et oléfines principales Cl à C5 et on énumère les principales applications des solvants pris séparé- ment. On y traite d'importants champs d'application tels que les industries de l'automobile, des matières plastiques, des revêtements de protection, des drogués et cosmétiques, du traitement du petrole, de l'encre ainsi que de plusieurs domaines plus petits, en se plaçant au point de vue des solvants utilisés dans ces industries. On a négligé d'énumérer les propriétés physiques et chimiques courantes mais on. * Senior Technologist, Sales Development Dept., Shell Chemical Corporation, New York 20, New York. a relevé des propriétés spéciales qui peuvent mener à faire choix de certains solvants pour des champs ci'application particuliers.


The manufacture of organic chemicals from petroleum raw materials is the basis of one of the fastest growing segments of the chemical industry. From a modest beginning in the early 1920's the use of petroleum hydrocarbons as raw materials for the manufacture of organic chemicals has grown until it now ranks as a major source of synthetic organic chemical production in the United States. The increase in production from this source has been particularly outstanding during the past decade. For example, in 1939 production of isopropyl alcohol from propylene was 180 million pounds while by 1949, it had increased to almost 700 million * pounds (1) **. Another example is ethylene glycol, production of which in 1939 was less than 100 million pounds whereas by 1949 it had increased

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