Importance of chemicals industries to individuals and the nation










  1. Types of Chemical industries
  2. Importance of chemicals industries to individuals and the nation
  3. Excursion to chemical industries.

PERIOD 1: Types of Chemical industries/divisions

Chemical industry is an industry that uses the principle of chemistry to convert raw materials to useful products.

Factors to be considered in sitting chemical industry

The following factors are to be considered in sitting chemical industry:

  1. Nearness to the source of materials
  2. Energy (power or fuel) supply
  3. Human Resources (Labour Force)
  4. Transport Cost
  5. Nearness to the market
  6. Nearness to A Source of Water
  7. Conducive climate.

Chemical industries are easily categories base on the type of products they manufacture. The major chemical industries are listed and explained below:

  1. Heavy chemical industries
  2. Fine chemical industries
  3. Pharmaceutical industries
  4. Fertilizer industries
  5. Cement industries
  6. Plastic industries
  7. Ceramic industries
  8. Food and Beverages industries
  9. Glass industries
  10. Metallurgical industries
  11. Soaps and Detergents industries
  12. Paint industries
  13. Cosmetic industries

1. HEAVY CHEMICALS INDUSTRIES: These industries produce chemicals used as raw materials by other chemical industries. Their products are usually manufactured in very large quantities because many industries depend on their product and so are in high demand. Some heavy chemicals and some of their uses are listed below. These industries have nature as their sources of raw materials.


  • Tetraoxosulphate (VI) acid (H2SO4) which is the most important of them all.It is used in the fertilizer industries.
  • Sodium hydroxide (NaOH) and potassium hydroxide (KOH) used in soap making, fiber and paper industries.
  • Sodium trioxocarbonate (IV) (Na2CO3) is used in glass, detergent and water works.
  • Sodium hydrogen trioxocarbonate (IV), (NaHCO3) is used in baking powder industries.
  • Sulpur (IV) oxide is used in the manufacture of tetraoxosulphate (VI) acid (H2SO4).
  • Chlorine (Cl2) is used in textile and paper industries and also for bleaching.

2. FINE CHEMICALS INDUSTRIES: Fine chemicals are produced in smaller quantities than heavy but are equally important. These industries pay great attention to purity products because the chemicals are used for sensitive and specific purpose. Some products like drugs, cosmetics, additive for vehicle engine performances, analytical reagents are some of the examples.

3. PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRIES: Produces various chemicals used in hospitals e.g. potassium bromide (used as sedatives), mercury (ii) nitrate (v) (used as antiseptic for skin diseases) calcium sulphate (plaster of Paris), iodine, antibiotics, insulin, magnesium tetraoxosulphate (VI).heptahydrate (Epsom salt), etc.

4. FERTILIZER INDUSTRIES: This industry produces fertilizers of various grades such as, (NH4) SO4, NH4NO3 and urea as well as pesticides, germicides, herbicides and fungicides.

5. CEMENT INDUSTRIES: These industries are important to us beacause their products are used in the construction industries in bulding bridges , house, roads, and drainages.Cement becomes a very hard substances when mixed with water,sand and gravels.Cement contains quicklime powder (calcium oxide),clay(silicon (iv)oxide and some aluminium oxide. All these chemicals are obtained naturallyfrom the earth in form of limestone(calcium trioxocarbonate(iv),and aliuminim oxide.when heated strongly,the lime stone changes to quicklimeand carbon (iv) oxide.

6. PLASTIC INDUSTRIES: These use simple organic compounds like ethane, ethyne, phenol, and benzene and styrene obtained from the petroleum and coal tar industries to make plastics in form of pellets or granules. Other raw materials for plastics are phenol, Cellulose and vinyl Chloride.

There are two main types of plastics, thermoset and thermoplastic. Thermoplastic materials like plastic bottles, polyethene bags and some household’s materials can be remoulded after melting. These can be recycled by some factories to form other materials for human use. Thermoset Plastics cannot be recycled, but are stronger and more durable and so are usually used for furniture.



7. GLASS INDUSTRIES: Glass is made from sand and it is cheap when compared with other materials. Silicon (iv) oxide in sand when treated with other chemical like lead from glass. These industries produce a lot of materials like glass waves (cups, bowls etc.), window panes, laboratory wares and apparatus, light bulbs and mirrors etc. Glass can be colored or transparent depending on its use.


Raw materials are starting materials ingredients for manufacturing. The raw materials for a product may be the products of another industry. For example:-the raw materials for the plastic industry are products of the petroleum industry.

Most primary (or starting) raw materials are obtained from nature e.g. petroleum, metal ores, common salt from the sea, coal, limestone, clay, sand, etc. These primary raw materials are used to produce other materials or chemicals that are used to produced other materials or chemicals. Some examples are listed in the table below:

Raw materials from some chemicals and their by-products

Natural Raw materials Some Chemical gotten from it Materials
Petroleum Petrochemicals e.g. Ethane, Benzene, Ethene etc. Plastic, Pesticides, Alkanols (alcohol),

beverages, fertilizers etc.

Earth Limestone cement
Metals ores Metallic products like containers, roofing sheet, vehicle bodies etc.
Clay/sand Ceramic products like floor tiles, dishwares, bathtub, toilet bows etc.
Plants Palm oil Soap and margarine
Cocoa Chocolate and beverages.
Rubber Tyres and other rubber products.
Sea water Common salt(sodium chloride) Seasoning for cooking and starting materials for many chemicals.
Air Oxygen Used in welding and hospitals.
Nitrogen Used to produced ammonia an important raw materials in the manufacture of fertilizers.


  1. Which chemical industry would you associate these with

(a) Tetraoxosulphate (vi) acid (b) paracetamol(c) floor tiles (d) Yoghourt (e) Baby powder

  1. Name four heavy chemicals and fine chemicals and their uses in the chemical industries
  2. Name any four divisions of chemicals industries. Mention one product produced by each of them.
  3. Mention one type of chemical industry that utilizes ethane as raw materials.


  1. To an individual:

(i) Chemical industries provide employment for both skilled and unskilled.

(ii) It is used for treating of woods.

(B) To the nation

(i) The chemical industries provide earnings from foreign trade.

(ii) Chemical industries improved the standard of living by providing many materials for domestic use (which can be too expensive if imported).


Despite all the advantages of these industries, they can constitute health hazards and menace to the communities where they are located. Such as:-

  1. Its waste can contaminate the air we breathe and water we drink.
  2. It is also noisy. To avoid this, careful thought may be placed on the selection of a site to locate an industry.


  1. Write one importance of chemical industry to you as a person and two to the nation.
  2. How can the activities of these industries affect the communities?

PERIOD 3: Excursion to chemical industries.

Your teacher or your science club should organize a visit to some of the local industries which make use of the raw materials we have so far discussed. This could be a soap factory, a cement factory, or even a petroleum refinery in the country.


Write a compressive report of your excursion and submit it to your teacher.



  1. An elastic rubber is formed by a process known as (A) Vulcanization (B) thermoplasticity (C) polymerization (D) thermosetting.
  2. Factors which can contribute to environmental pollution include: i. Overpopulation ii.Chemical warfare iii. Agricultural activities iv. Industrialization (A) I only (B)I and II only (C) I,II,III and IV.(D) IV only
  3. One of the adverse effects of chemical industries on the community is (A) increased population (B) increased job opportunities (C) increased earning power (D) increased environmental pollution.
  4. The major raw material in a plastic industry is (A) Ethanol (B) Sulphur (C) methylethanoate (D) Ethene.
  5. The following are heavy chemicals except (A) Tetraoxosulphate(vi) acid (B) Caustic soda (C) Sodium trioxocarbonate (iv) (D) Ethane


  1. Name two of raw materials used in the manufacture of the following:

i.Polythene ii.Margarine. iii. Cement.

  1. Name two industries and their locations where cement is produces.
  2. List two industrial processes in which limestone is used as raw materials.
  3. Name two uses of cement.
  4. State one problem associated with the oil producing areas.


Read comprehensive certificate chemistry by G N C Ohia et al;


Read the major factors that determine siting of chemical industries.


Suggest one method of disposing polythene materials.