Talk:Chemical plant

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 Definition An industrial process plant that manufactures or otherwise processes chemicals, usually on a large scale [d] [e]

Conversion from the Wikipedia article
I essentially wrote

Although I did not start Wikipedia (WP) article "Chemical plant", I wrote almost all of it myself. When I first came across the article, it was just a short stub. Since I wrote practically the whole article myself just the way I wanted to, of course I think it's written about as well as it could be; otherwise I would have written it differently. In this sense, I'm biased about how it's written. I wrote it in a fairly simple way so the average non-technical guy can understand it, and yet it mentions practically all the main fundamental points I want to mention. It would be ridiculous for me to rewrite an article that I mostly consider about as well written as it could be just to make it different for Citizendium (CZ). Since I wrote it, a few people have added a few things, and these additions are mostly good edits that I agree with. Although someone else put them in here, mentioning cost studies for initial design screening, the Hazop or fault tree analysis, and briefly the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards regulation in the United States are good ideas related to a chemical plant, so I left those in here. I would rather transfer those edits over to CZ as they are. Nevertheless, I am making a few edits that introduce some differences between the WP (as of Nov. 21, 2009) and future CZ versions. Besides the WP-specific categories, foreign language links, and "See also" section taken out of the WP version for CZ, these differences are listed here:

  • took out image(s) not present in CZ; replaced them with pictures I found in CZ
Two of the images (distillation towers photo and oil refinery block diagram) are the same as in WP, and the other images are different. In fact, the CZ version has more images now.
  • reorganized/clarified parts of the introductory section
  • moved a couple sentences from intro to a new subsection called "Location"
  • mentioned stirred tank reactors in CZ version
  • mentioned lagging in CZ version
  • mentioned demonstration plants in CZ version
  • mentioned operating procedures in CZ version
  • some other minor rewording
  • WP has a sentence about tank farm because there is a WP link to existing "Tank farm" article there, but this CZ does not have this sentence. Per Milt's comment, I plant to mention tank farms in "Plant facilities" section. - yet to be done.
  • added some references on pilot plant and demonstration plants which the WP article does not have
  • I may add something about hazards at chemical plants - yet to be done
  • maybe mention something about redundancy of plant components somewhere in the CZ article - yet to be done
  • perhaps look for a reference to add some day (I have to find it.) - yet to be done
  • I will look for some pictures already present in CZ to add - done for now
  • create Definition (done) and maybe other subpages - partly done
  • My plant engineering experience has been all in the United States, so I am [somewhat] familiar with the statutory and regulatory compliance I mentioned in the article, but I admit my knowledge and coverage in the article is not worldwide, although elsewhere in the world, things would be somewhat similar. If anybody wants to expand this coverage to provide a worldwide view, they will have their chance once I move this article into an article space.
  • maybe add additional discussion in "Location" subsection - yet to be done
  • mention petrochemical plants in intro section - yet to be done
  • mention specific example(s) of chem plants - yet to be decided
  • mention round-the-clock shifts in continuous operation plants - yet to be done

Henry A. Padleckas 19:46, 22 November 2009 (UTC)

Looks like you have a done an excellent job

Henry, this looks good to me and you've done an excellent job of turning it into a CZ article. Just be sure, when you place it into the main article namespace, to check the the place where it is acknowledged that the article contains WP content. Also for articles such as this, in the Metadata template, I have listed the categories as Chemistry and Engineering and then listed the subgroups as Chemical Engineering (both the C and E capitalized).

In some of my articles such as Henry's Law, Boiling point, Compressibility factor, etc., I have also included Physics as a category. In some other of my articles, such Air pollution dispersion modeling, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, etc. I have also listed Envirionmental Engineering (both E and E capitalized) as a subgroup.

After you have placed your article in the main article workspace, you will note that it doesn't show up in your listed category workgroups. That is a known bug. You have to then go back to the Talk page and make a simple null edit (like adding a space at the end of a paragraph) and then save the Talk page. We call that a "Null edit to jog the article" or some such wording. The article will then show up in the listed category workgroups.

I hope I am not coaching you too much. If I am, just tell me to stop. Milton Beychok 23:55, 27 November 2009 (UTC)

Henry, I just found this note. I can help in Approval, as I'm also an Engineering and Military Editor; the latter is relevant to anti-terrorism and chemical warfare, where I do have some experience. Otherwise, I do know a decent amount about process control under my Computers hat. Let me read the article and see if I have comments.Howard C. Berkowitz 04:24, 5 December 2009 (UTC)
Howard, thanks for offering your help. Only about half a sentence in the article is about anti-terrorism, and about a paragraph about process control in a very general way. I think I'll tweak the article a bit more before seeking approval. Henry A. Padleckas 04:46, 5 December 2009 (UTC)
OK. You may want to look at Milt's ammonia synthesis article. It may be in the talk page archives, but I did provide some material on anti-terrorism, at least some of which got into the approved article.
I might not lead off with the MSDS, since that's as relevant to small operations as large plants. It's relevant, but there are safety guidelines unique to the large-scale environment. Howard C. Berkowitz 12:56, 5 December 2009 (UTC)
Howard, this is the section of Ammonia production that you're talking about:
In transport, ammonia containers must have proper hazardous material placards, and, if the pertinent threshold quantitity is exceeded, may need additional safeguards, such as reporting the shipment to industry monitoring services such as CHEMTREC[11] or additional local agencies. There may be restrictions on transporting hazardous materials through tunnels, or possibly streets in high-density areas.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, citing its major concern as toxic release, lists anhydrous ammonia, or mixtures containing at least 1 percent ammonia, when stored in quantites of 10,000 pounds or more, as a chemical of interest,[1] which falls under the Risk for Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) regulations and guidance.[2] Organizations that store or transport more than the threshold quantity of 10,000 pounds, or believe they are at a higher than normal risk, should use the Chemical Security Assessment Tool. [3]
Some of this might possibly be applicable for this article. Milton Beychok 21:15, 5 December 2009 (UTC)
Howard, thank you; I've seen your comments and I think I'll respond later. Henry A. Padleckas 01:00, 7 December 2009 (UTC)


Hi Henry, I'm in the process of reading your article, it impresses me as very authoritative. However, since you implicitly exclude other industries, such as petrochemical and pharmaceutical, I wonder about examples of chemical plants. Would it not be good to mention in the lead a few examples of the chemicals produced by chemical plants? Probably most are not end products but (poisonous/explosive) feedstock for other industries, but even so, it would be interesting to know and some of the chemicals will give red links that may inspire other people to color them blue.--Paul Wormer 07:06, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

I finished reading the article, and it confirms what I wrote above, it is well written, but a few examples are called for. The article is very abstract; nowhere is it mentioned what goes through the piping or is stored in the containers. Further, since there is some attention to the workers and work environment, I would also add that, given the fact that most chemical plants are 24 hours in operation, the operators must work in shifts. When I did an internship at a fertilizer (nitrate) plant (45 years ago), we had three 8 hour shifts a day and four teams covering the week. Is that still common? I remember vividly the shift from 10 pm until 6 am, sitting in the control room fighting sleep and talking to the operators, who all were very good at doing crosswords. --Paul Wormer 09:43, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
Paul, thanks for your review. I understand practically no specific examples of types of chemical plants (in terms of more specific kinds of products) are included in this article as examples, and I had thought myself that an example or two might be nice. I have yet to decide what example of chemical product to use. Wikipedia has an article called "Chemical industry", to which "Chemical company" redirects to, but Citizendium does not yet have either article. In terms of a list of major chemicals produced, I think I would put such a list in a Chemical industry where economics of chemical production would be covered. I'll make a note in my list above.
I've read a couple of your articles on orbitals. They seem even more abstract to me, but we likely have different perspectives on things. Large chemical and related plants that run in continuous operation have shifts around the clock, but more serious planning and maintenance work is commonly done during the day, when a larger day staff is available. In huge operations where hundreds of millions of dollars (or euros) are invested in capital structures and equipment, it is desirable to get as much of a return as possible for such a huge investment, particularly if the profit margin is smaller; hence there is round-the-clock operation to maximize production. The actual routine production operation is often pretty much automatic. The amount of night-shift staffing commonly depends not on how much works needs to be done every night, but on the maximum number of personnel who might be needed in the event of an unexpected problem, i.e. an emergency. I've seen plant operators in the control room sitting around talking during normal operation when not a single one was busy doing work. I've worked as an operations engineer on rotating (changing) shifts at a plant in continuous round-the-clock operation, even though my plant was not especially big. I also worked at a smaller chemical company producing specialized products in batches. Because of rather short batch production, lasting no more than a day, employees worked at the company only on the day shift. The profit margins on these specialty products were higher, compensating for a lower production rate. I'll make a note in my list above to briefly mention round-the-clock shifts for large continuous operations. Similar principals commonly apply to all kinds of continuously operating industrial plants. Henry A. Padleckas 02:07, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

Initial preliminary reviews

I would like to thank Milton Beychok, Howard Berkowitz, and Paul Wormer for their initial review of the article Chemical plant. When I first wrote the "Chemical plant" article for Wikipedia (WP), I soon afterward wrote/expanded the article "Chemical process" in WP to cover industrial scale chemical processes, although I did not write "Chemical process" in nearly the detail "Chemical plant" was written to avoid unnecessary duplication of material; there would have been a lot of overlap between the two. There was also a separate WP article called "Chemical industry" to which I contributed only very minimally. There was also a separate WP article called "Industrial process" with a list of industrial processes and a rather stubby discussion section which was further reduced in an edit. After this reduction in discussion, "Industrial process" was moved to "List of Industrial processes". CZ seems not to have an Industrial process article, although I think it would be good to have one which is better than the current WP one. I believe that in WP, "Industrial plant" redirects to "Factory". In WP, I wrote "Chemical plant" in view of the presence of these other articles, avoiding duplicating material which was already present or I thought should be present in the other articles. I believe or hope that CZ will eventually have its own articles on these topics. This article is meant to cover petrochemical plants as well, and I think there is little if anything different about petrochemical plants from chemical plants in general which would justify a separate Petrochemical plant article. However, there should be and is a separate Petrochemicals article in CZ, thank to Milt B. When I wrote this Chemical plant article, I did not mean to imply a petrochemical plant is not a chemical plant, but I moved a sentence on petrochemical plants from the introduction further down to a new "Location" subsection. Milt then added petrochemical plants to a list of plants types which use much technology similar to chemical plants, but which some people may not call chemical plants, such as food processing plants. I hope to modify the introductory section a bit to clarify that, but mention petrochemical plants anyway, because of their very important role in the chemical industry. It might take me a couple weeks to perfect this article. Henry A. Padleckas 21:57, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
  1. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (November 20, 2007), 6 CFR Part 27 Appendix to Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards; Final Rule
  2. DHS Finalizes List of Chemicals Subject to Anti-terrorism Regs
  3. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Chemical Security Assessment Tool