Industrial Processes

This page is a working list of every important industrial process that shows up in Quizbowl. Focus is given to processes that produce specific compounds or isolate specific elements.

Mostly copied from my old notes for Science Bowl, with a few additions and heavy reformatting.

This page is organized by the compound (or general objective) that each process produces. Within each compound, the list of processes is listed from most modern to most outdated. Obsolete processes will be listed as so in (parentheses).



Hall-Heroult Process

  • produces aluminum by smelting alumina in molten cryolite (Na3AlF6)

Wohler Process (obsolete)

  • produces aluminum metal from anhydrous aluminum chloride and potassium
  • not to be confused with the Wohler synthesis

Bayer Process

  • Produce alumina from bauxite

Deville Process (obsolete)

  • Produce alumina from bauxite


Dow Process

  • electrolytic extraction of bromine from brine


Deacon Process

  • produces chlorine gas from the oxidation of hydrogen chloride
  • a variety of catalysts, including ruthenium (IV) oxide (RuO2) and copper (II) chloride (CuCl2) are used
  • replaced by electrolytic processes

Chloralkali process

Weldon process

Hooker process


Steam Reforming

  • Reaction between methane and water to form carbon monoxide and hydrogen gas

$$\ce{CH4 + H2O <=> CO + 3 H2}$$

  • Produces grey hydrogen when waste carbon dioxide is released to the atmosphere
  • Produces blue hydrogen when carbon dioxide is (mostly) captured and stored geologically
  • Zero carbon ‘green’ hydrogen is produced by thermochemical water splitting, using solar thermal, low- or zero-carbon electricity or waste heat, or electrolysis, using low- or zero-carbon electricity.

Water-Gas Shift Reaction

  • Reaction between carbon monoxide and water to form carbon dioxide and hydrogen gas

$$\ce{CO + H2O <=> CO2 + H2}$$

  • Discovered by Italian physicist Felice Fontana in 1780


Pidgeon Process

  • Produces magnesium using a silicothermic reduction
  • Silicon in the process is usually found bound to iron as a ferrosilicon alloy

$$\ce{Si(s) + 2 MgO(s) => SiO2(s) + 2 Mg(g)}$$

  • Thermodynamically unfavorable but can be induced by removing product (Mg vapor), according to Le Chatlier’s principle
  • Most common raw material used is dolomite:

$$ \ce{(Ca,Mg)CO3(s) => CaO.MgO(s)+ CO2(g) (dolomite calcining)} \ce{(Fe,Si)(s) + 2 MgO(s) <=> Fe(s) + SiO2(s) + 2 Mg(g)} \ce{CaO + SiO2 > CaSiO3} $$


Mond Process

  • extracts and purifies nickel


Patio Process

  • extracts silver from ore using a mercury amalgamation


Claus Process

  • recovers elemental sulfur from gaseous hydrogen sulfide
  • most significant gas desulfurization process

Frasch Process (obsolete)

  • extracts sulfur from underground deposits


Chloride Process

  • separates titanium from its ores

Kroll Process

  • produces metallic titanium
  • can also be used to produce zirconium
  • superseded the Hunter process



Haber-Bosch Process

  • produces ammonia from nitrogen and hydrogen gas
  • uses a iron catalyst (magnetite: Fe3O4) with a potassium promotor
  • superseded osmium and uranium catalysts
  • superseded the Birkeland–Eyde process and Frank–Caro process


Acheson Process

  • produces silicon carbide and graphite from silicon dioxide and carbon

Heavy Water

Girdler sulfide process

Hydrogen Peroxide

  • Almost all hydrogen peroxide is manufactured through the anthraquinone process

Anthraquinone Process


  1. Anthrahydroquinone is generated from anthraquinone via hydrogenation over palladium
  2. Reacting oxygen gas with anthrahydroquinone generates hydrogen peroxide and regenerates the anthraquinone

Nitric Acid

Ostwald Process

  • produces nitric acid from ammonia
  • catalysts include: platinum with 10% rhodium, platinum metal on fused silica wool, copper or nickel

Sodium Carbonate

  • Also known as soda ash

Solvay Process

  • produces sodium carbonate (soda ash)
  • superseded the Leblanc process

Leblanc Process (obsolete)

  • produces sodium carbonate (soda ash) from sodium chloride and sulfuric acid
  • the first step is the Mannheim process
  • soda ash is extracted from a mixture called black ash
  • the process was very damaging to the environment
  • replaced by the Solvay process

Sulfuric Acid

Contact Process

  • uses a vanadium pentoxide (V2O5) catalyst (initially, platinum was the catalyst)
  • produces sulfur trioxide and oleum as intermediates

Lead Chamber Process (obsolete)

  • uses nitrogen oxides as a catalyst


Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC)

  • cracking of hydrocarbons, converting high-molecular weight hydrocarbon fractions of petroleum crude oils into more valuable gasoline, olefinic gases
  • the catalyst consists of crystalline zeolite, matrix, binder, and filler

Burton Process (obsolete)

  • still used to produce diesel

Organic Compounds

Oxo process

Cumene Process

  • produces phenol and acetone from benzene and propylene

Fischer-Tropsch Process

  • produces liquid hydrocarbons from a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen
  • cobalt, iron, and ruthenium are common catalysts

Raschig Process

  • production of hydroxylamine
  • most of the product is used in the manufacture of caprolactam, the precursor to Nylon
  • Steps 3 and 4 are the key steps


  1. ammonium carbonate solution is prepared by reacting ammonia, carbon dioxide and water
  2. an alkaline solution of ammonium nitrite is formed by reacting ammonium carbonate solution with nitrogen oxides
  3. ammonium nitrite is converted to hydroxylamine disulfonate with sulfur dioxide
  4. hydroxylamine disulfonate is hydrolysed to hydroxylammonium sulfate