Petrochemistry and Synthetic Polymers
The 20th century brought critical breakthroughs in refining petroleum to produce gasoline and other substances used for fuel and lighting, as well as a wide variety of other chemicals. Catalysts form a key element of this story.
Scientists active in the area of petrochemicals shared their knowledge of catalysts and increased the variety and quantity of chemicals usable in polymerization processes that create all sorts of synthetic materials. Such materials—including nylon, Kevlar, and Teflon—are now an integral part of the modern world.