Module 9.2 - Production of Materials

Contextual Outline

Humans have always exploited their natural environment for all their needs including food, clothing and shelter. As the cultural development of humans continued, they looked for a greater variety of materials to cater for their needs.

The twentieth century saw an explosion in both the use of traditional materials and in the research for development of a wider range of materials to satisfy technological developments. Added to this was a reduction in availability of the traditional resources to supply the increasing world population.

Chemists and chemical engineers continue to play a pivotal role in the search for new sources of traditional materials such as those from the petrochemical industry. As the fossil organic reserves dwindle, new sources of the organic chemicals presently used have to be found. In addition, chemists are continually searching for compounds to be used in the design and production of new materials to replace those that have been deemed no longer satisfactory for needs.

This module increases students' understanding of the implications of chemistry for society and the environment and the current issues, research and developments in chemistry.