Petrochemicals are chemicals made from crude oil through the refining process. Some petrochemicals can be made using coal or natural gas, but these can be expensive.
There are two main classes of petrochemical materials. Olefins include ethylene and propylene. Aromatics include benzene and xylene isomers. Olfeins are produced by cracking and aromatics are produced by reforming.
These petrochemical materials are used to make:
- Resins and plastics
- Synthetic fibers
- Engineering polymers
- Industrial chemicals, including those used to manufacture detergents such coatings, pharmaceuticals, and explosives.