When you’re transferring corrosive and hazardous materials or chemicals, it requires specific equipment like chemical process pumps. Chemicals, like sulfuric acid, are widely used in a variety of industrial industries that require specialized pumps in their operations.
Sulfuric acid, an important industrial chemical, is produced more than any other manufactured chemical every year. In 1990, the U.S. produced more than 40 million tons of sulfuric acid. Although sulfuric acid has many uses, it’s primarily used in the production of fertilizers and herbicides. It’s also used to manufacture chemicals like nitric acid, hydrochloric acid, and sulfate salts. Other uses for sulfuric acid include:
* Manufacturing dyes, pigments and synthetic detergents
* Manufacturing explosives
* Manufacturing chemotherapy and veterinary drugs
* Manufacturing textiles like rayon, rubber and other synthetic fibers
* Manufacturing motor vehicle batteries
* Refining jet fuel, gasoline, kerosene, oil and other refinery products
* Processing metals and iron and steel pickling
* Processing waste water
* Bleaching paper and sugar
In agriculture, a major industry for sulfuric acid, potato farmers use it to spray their crop fields before harvest. This helps to dry out the stems and prevent them from becoming tangled up in the harvesting equipment. Spraying the potato tops with sulfuric acid also helps the potatoes to ripen faster and speeds up the harvest.
In medicine, sulfuric acid is used in the manufacturing of chemotherapy drugs used to treat various types of cancer. Since cancer cells are more sensitive to DNA than normal cells, chemotherapy destroys cancer cells by damaging their DNA. Many veterinary drugs used to treat animal illnesses and diseases are also manufactured using sulfuric acid.
In the automotive industry, sulfuric acid acts as an electrolyte that allows the flow of electrons between plates in a battery. Invented in 1859, sealed-unit lead-acid type batteries are now used in most cars and trucks. Sulfuric acid is often referred to as battery acid within the automotive industry.
In the environment, sulfuric acid is found in acid rain formed by the atmospheric oxidation of sulfur dioxide when in comes in contact with water. This type of sulfur dioxide is produced when fossil fuels that contain sulfur burn.
Sulfuric acid is an acidic, oily liquid that may be clear to cloudy in appearance. It’s available in a variety of grades that are necessary for the production of various industrial products. Although sulfuric acid is a necessary component for many industrial uses, it must always be handled with extreme caution.