Figure 1: Sulfuric Acid Growth

Sulfuric Acid Production

Because of its importance, sulfuric acid was considered an excellent indicator of a country's industrial well-being. Below we see the amount of sulfuric acid produced in the United States during the first seven decades of this Century.

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Note: 1 short ton = 2000 lb. (whereas a metric ton = 2205 lb. and a long ton = 2240 lb.)

Figure 1-1, Source: "US Bureau of the Census, Historical Statistics from Colonial Times to 1970."

Notice how sulfuric acid production closely mirrors historical events effecting the American economy. Sulfuric acid production dropped after the American involvement in World War I (1917-1919) and open world trade resumed. The stock market crash of 1929 further stagnated growth which was restored at the outbreak of World War II (1938). As the U.S. entered the war (1941) our economy was rapidly brought up to full production capacity. The post war period (1940-1965) saw the greatest economic growth in America's history, and this was reflected in ever increasing sulfuric acid production. Massive inflation during the late sixties and the energy crisis and economic recession of the early seventies also reveal themselves in the sulfuric acid curve. Two other important chemicals, Caustic Soda (NaOH) and Ammonia (NH3), help emphasis the scale of sulfuric acid production while also displaying the same basic trends.

Table of Contents

Setting the Stage (1888)

A Century of Contributions

AIChE Membership

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Last updated on 4/4/98 by Wayne Pafko...


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