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Technology Profile: Production of Caprolactam from Benzene

By Intratec Solutions |

Figure 1. Caprolactam structure is shown here[/caption] Caprolactam (Figure 1) is a cyclic amide widely used as a chemical intermediate. The main forms of caprolactam are molten (liquid) and flakes. At ambient temperatures, it is a white, hygroscopic, crystalline solid. Almost all caprolactam is used as monomer in the production of polycaprolactam, also known as nylon 6. Fibers, sheets, filaments and bristles made from nylon 6 can be used, in turn, in a broad range of products, including apparel and home furnishings; carpets; and industrial uses (tires, reinforced rubber products). The uses and applications of caprolactam may vary according to the product grade. Commercial caprolactam is produced with high purity, where water is usually the main contaminant with concentrations around 0.1 wt.%. Caprolactam can be used in the manufacture of other products, including 6-aminocaproic acid; caprolactam disulfide; hexamethyleneimine; polyamide 6 terpolymers; poly(ether-amide) elastomers; n-vinyl caprolactam and lysine. The process Caprolactam production involves four major sections: (1) benzene hydrogenation; (2) cyclohexane oxidation; (3) oximation & Beckmann rearrangement; and (4) ammonium sulfate purification (Figure 2). Figure…
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