Specialty chemicals are also known as “effect” or “performance” chemicals, as they are specifically formulated to create a specific function or effect. While common “commodity” chemicals are used in a wide range of applications, specialty or custom chemicals are often used in just one or two products, often by a single manufacturer. As technology continues to evolve at lighting speed, specialty and custom chemicals are playing a bigger role.
Here are just 6 industries making heavy use of these chemicals.
Modern electronics rely on sophisticated specialty and custom chemicals. Silicon wafers, flat screen displays, semiconductors and circuit boards are just a few applications for these chemicals. The chemicals used range from specialty gases used for gas-phase etching to thin film metals and copper plating formulations.
Mining & Mineral Processing
Mining and mineral processing have historically been difficult, labor intensive industries. Specialty chemicals are making the job easier and more standardized by enhancing all phases of the work. Applications include grinding, dust control, de-watering, and other processing aids. Chemicals used include coagulants, flotation reagents, and viscosity modifiers, among others.
The pharmaceutical industry is unique in that it demands the highest standards of not only safety, but also purity and uniformity. Yet the natural resources that are turned into medicines are far from pure or uniform. Specialty chemicals are used throughout all phases of pharmaceutical manufacturing to purify raw materials, to create odorless, colorless and non-reactive drug carriers, to improve characteristics such as water solubility, and to help create the final form of the medication such as tablets or capsules.
While the basic process for developing photographic film has not changed in 50 years, what has changed is the range of alternatives to traditional film use. Thermal printing for everything from gas station receipts to airline boarding passes, as well as the rapid changeover of much of the film industry from analog to digital, is driving the need for newer and better specialty chemicals to help improve processing. Radiographic filmography for the medical and dental industries is another subset of the film industry that relies on specialty chemicals.
Plastics & Composites
Advanced plastics and composite materials are ubiquitous in modern life, from consumer goods packaging to the aerospace industry. As plastics become ever more complex and high-tech, specialty and custom chemicals are essential to providing the desired qualities. Examples include heat and light stabilizers, flame retardants, corrosion protectors, antistatic agents, and pliability modifiers.
Polymers & Monomers
Monomers, or molecules that are able to chemically bond in chains, are the building blocks of polymers, which are the chains themselves. Specialty monomers can be created in the lab with the precise features desired for specific paints, adhesives, binders, emulsifiers, and other applications. These monomers are then chemically bonded to create specialty polymers for targeted applications. Alternatively, existing polymers can be treated with specialty or custom chemicals to enhance their chemical properties.
Noah Chemicals is dedicated to providing clients the purest specialty and custom chemicals. To speak with a qualified chemist about custom chemicals and bulk ordering, contact us today!