History of Chemical Engineering - ACS Publications - American


History of Chemical Engineering - ACS Publications - American...

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15 The History of Chemical Engineering

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in Japan GENJI JIMBO—Department of Chemical Engineering, Nagoya University, Nagoya 464, Japan NORIAKI WAKAO—Department of Chemical Engineering, Yokohama National University, Yokohama 240, Japan MASAHIRO YORIZANE—Dean of Engineering, Hiroshima University, Hiroshima 730, Japan The prehistory of chemical engineering in Japan before its formal and systematical establishment in 1920-1930 is dis­ cussed. Chemical engineering education and the growth of Japanese chemical industries are also outlined.

"D ecently it was found that early in 1903 Kotaro Shimomura had tried to ^ translate G. E. Davis* book, A Handbook of Chemical Engineering, into Japanese, and he named, for thefirsttime, this new engineering "Kagakukogaku" as is used now (1). It was only two years after the original publication of Davis' handbook. The letter from Davis to Shimomura was found recently and shows that he got this handbook before March of 1902. Such a quick purchase of the book was rather mysterious in Japan in those days, but even more interesting was his active response toward the new engineering. Here it must be pointed out that even in 1911 O. A. Hougen could notfindDavis' handbook in the library of Washington University (2). After graduatingfromDoshisha, a private college based on Christi­ anity, Shimomura studied organic chemistry at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, in the United States where he received his B S and PhD. He then moved to Johns Hopkins University where he did research in organic chemistry under Professor Ira Remsen. His stay at Johns Hop­ kins was discontinued due to the proposal of a millionaire, J. N. Harris, to donate $100,000 toward the founding of a school of science. It was said that Harris asked Shimomura to come back to Japan to take the responsibility for organizing and managing the new school, which was named the Harris School of Science (Harisu Rikagakko). From its found­ ing in 1890 until his unexpected and unhappy resignation in 1896,

A

0-8412-0512-4/80/33-190-273$05.00/l © 1980 American Chemical Society Furter; History of Chemical Engineering Advances in Chemistry; American Chemical Society: Washington, DC, 1980.

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274

HISTORY OF CHEMICAL ENGINEERING

Shimomura was a Director and Professor of Chemistry at the school, which was the first private educational institute i n Japan to specialize in science and engineering. Unfortunately the school closed shortly after his resignation. Shimomura then focused his attention to a career in industry and selected the development of the coke-manufacturing process with its recovery of gas, tar, and ammonia by-products as his new area of re­ search. To investigate this process he was sent to the United States and Europe i n 1896-1897 where he selected Semet-Solvay coke ovens to be the most adequate. Therefore there was a possibility that he received some information on chemical engineering or Davis' activities during his trip. (Incidentally Shimomura was a member of the Society of Chemical Industry, London.) H e perhaps was struggling at that time with the construction of the coke-manufacturing process (Japan Patent No. 2907 (1901)), which later led to the development of a new coke-manufacturing process which utilized Japanese low-grade coal (Japan Patent No. 13583 (1908)). This newly invented process was highly engineering-oriented, especially with the development of an agitator for agitating and conveying coking coal in the furnace. It is therefore quite probable that he became aware of the importance of mechanical and process design of the chemical process. It is reasonable to say that his interest toward chemical engineering may have been the result of such experiences in industry. Actually the coke-manufacturing process was one of the key technologies of Japan, because it had a close connection with the construction of the Govern­ ment Steel Works of Yawata, then the biggest national project of tech­ nology, to which Shimomura contributed by constructing the SemetSolvay coke ovens. Unfortunately Shimomura did not complete the translation of Davis' book and it was neither published nor shown to other people. Another very early trial of the education of chemical engineering by T. Nishikawa was very influential to those who were interested in chem­ ical engineering. After returning from industry to Tokyo Imperial U n i ­ versity as an Assistant Professor, Nishikawa started a course in Chemical Plant Design (or Chemical Machinery ) ca. 1910. One year later he moved to Kyushu University, but the influence of his course was believed to be very great. W h i l e he gave lectures at the Department of Applied Chemistry of Tokyo Imperial University, J . Inoue, Y . Tanaka, and G . Kita were staff members in the department. Later on Inoue moved to Tohoku Imperial University, where he established the educational system of chemical engineering (3). Y . Tanaka became a leading educational figure in this new engineering program at Tokyo Imperial University, although his speciality was applied organic chemistry (3). G . Kita later moved to

Furter; History of Chemical Engineering Advances in Chemistry; American Chemical Society: Washington, DC, 1980.

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15. JIMBO ET AL.

Chemical Engineering in Japan

275

Kyoto Imperial University, where he was active in establishing a program in chemical engineering (4, 5). Nishikawa's influence on Kyushu Imperial University was naturally very strong because his lectures on Chemical Plant Design and/or C h e m ­ ical Machinery continued from 1911 to 1924, at which time he was succeeded by T. Kuroda (6). Since the Imperial Universities of Tokyo, Kyoto, Tohoku, and K y u ­ shu were all very important sources of the pioneers of chemical engi­ neering, it can be said that almost all of the founders were more or less influenced by Nishikawa. F r o m 1896 to 1908, Nishikawa worked in an alkali-manufacturing company (Nihon Seimi Co.) as an Engineering Director, and he strongly realized the very severe state of Japanese chemical technology. It was the turning point of the soda-manufacturing process from L e Blanc to Solvay, and the Japanese chemical industry was struggling to establish this new industry on a technologically independent basis. Unfortunately the level of sophistication of the Solvay process was too high for the Japanese chemical industry at that time, and the conditions of raw mate­ rials were also very poor. Another severe factor was the monopoly of the Solvay process; no patent and no knowledge of this process were sold without ruling capital investment. Therefore, the development of the soda process had to be another big national project, and in fact soon after the outbreak of the First W o r l d War, the Japanese government started an Organization for the Investigation of the Chemical Industry (Kagakukogyo-Chosakai), i n which the development of the soda-manufacturing process was the main subject. This means that the development of the soda process became a sort of national project. Nishikawa was always a leader in that organization and he was engaged throughout his entire life in the development of a Japanese soda process. It is undeniable that his pioneering contribution to the founding of chemical engineering in Japan was based on his experiences in the soda-process development. Chemical Engineering Education Japan is a densely populated country with 111,000,000 people i n an area of approximately 377,000 sq k m . A l l children from 6 to 14 years of age are enrolled i n compulsory schools (six years in elementary school followed by three years in junior high school), with an enrollment rate close to 100%. After junior high school, most of the youths enroll in a senior high school. This school is not compulsory, but the enrollment rate is about 90%. There are two types of senior high schools: general course (63%) and vocational course (37%). Students in both courses are qualified equally to advance to the institutions of higher education—junior colleges and universities.

Furter; History of Chemical Engineering Advances in Chemistry; American Chemical Society: Washington, DC, 1980.

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276

HISTORY O F C H E M I C A L ENGINEERING

Junior colleges offer two-year programs in which practical and profes­ sional education is emphasized. About 91% of the students are females (as of 1977). A l l of the universities offer four-year programs (six years for medical school) leading to a bachelor's degree, and many universities carry twoyear graduate programs leading to a masters degree. In some universi­ ties more advanced professional studies are pursued in three-year doc­ torate programs that are available for graduate students who already have master's degrees. A n engineer in industry who has only a BS degree also can obtain a doctorate of engineering by writing a special paper. In quite a good number of universities, the School of Engineering to which a Chemical Engineering Department belongs has some other Chem­ istry (such as applied and/or industrial chemistry) Departments. In addi­ tion, the school of science has a Chemistry Department. Note that female students (undergraduate and graduate) in schools of engineering and science account for less than 5% of the enrollment. In most universities, the Applied Chemistry and Industrial Chemistry Departments produce roughly four times as many students as the Chemical Engineering Department. This ratio is considered to be a result of the demand from the chemical industry. Table I shows the increase in the number of chemical engineering graduates and of institutions having a Chemical Engineering Department or Subdepartment since 1932. In 1940, chemical engineering was taught at only three institutions: Kyoto University, Tohoku University, and Tokyo Institute of Technology. The number of graduates from these institutions in 1940 was only nine. In contrast, in 1960, 18 universities (17 national and 1 municipal) had Chemical Engineering Departments and eight uni­ versities (4 national, 2 municipal, and 2 private) had Chemical Engineering Subdepartments. Altogether 263 chemical engineers were graduated in 1960. In 1969, 25 Chemical Engineering Departments (22 national, 1 municipal, and 2 private) produced 810 graduates, and ten Chemical E n ­ gineering Subdepartments (4 national, 3 municipal, and 3 private) had 394 graduates; altogether this meant 1,204 graduates in 1969. Since 1969, the figures seem to have remained almost unchanged. Besides this, about 300 graduate students are enrolled in the master's program and about 30 in the doctorate program each year. The increase in the number of Chemical Engineering Departments in the 1960's was in accord with the sharp growth in the chemical industry, particularly in petrochemicals, which resulted in a large demand for chemical engineers. However, the increase has ceased since 1970. Before 1950, unit operations was the major course taught in the Chemical Engineering Department. However, since 1960, in most uni­ versities, process design, chemical reaction/reactor engineering, transport phenomena, and process control, etc. also have been included in the

Furter; History of Chemical Engineering Advances in Chemistry; American Chemical Society: Washington, DC, 1980.

Furter; History of Chemical Engineering Advances in Chemistry; American Chemical Society: Washington, DC, 1980.

1,204 263 135 9

2

0

1970"

fl

The first figure indicates the number of graduates; the second figure in parentheses indicates the number of Chemical Engineering Departments and Subdepartments.

Total

KD

231(4) 57(3) 106(3) 10(4) 9(2) 17(2)

0(0) 0(0)

0(0) 0(0) 0(0)

0(0) 0(0) 0(0)

0(0) 0(0) 0(0)

National Municipal Private

Chemical Engineering Subdepartment

3

706(22) almost the 27(1) same as 77(2) 1969 204(17) 23(1) 0(0)

109(9) 25(1) 0(0)

2(1) 0(0) 0(0)

0(0) 0(0) 0(0)

National Municipal Private

9(3) 0(0) 0(0)

1969

1960

1950

1940

1932

-1931

Chemical Engineering Department

School

Year

Table I. N u m b e r of Chemical Engineering Departments and Subdepartments and Graduates

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HISTORY OF CHEMICAL ENGINEERING

curriculum. There are a few Chemical Engineering Departments that have the same curriculum as those of the Applied and Industrial Chemistry Departments, while some departments emphasize mechanical courses. However, the average curriculum is considerably different from that of the Applied and Industrial Chemistry Departments. Polymer and metal­ lurgy courses of the type often taught in Chemical Engineering Depart­ ments in North America are covered only in the Applied and Industrial Chemistry Departments in Japan. In the Chemical Engineering Departments of Japan, on the average 225 hr is spent teaching fundamental engineering courses, 186 hr in unit operation, 73 hr in reaction and reactor engineering, 75 hr in process design, and 287 hr in chemical engineering experiments and drawing. (Note that a course is defined as one 2-hr lecture per week for 15 weeks.) Undergraduate students are required to complete general education courses for the first 1-1.5 years, followed by the specialized courses. The students attend these specialized courses for about two years. The entrance examination for a university, in general, is very strict in Japan. W e probably should shift the narrow gate to each year—or semester—end examination as well as to the final examination. The university door should be kept open as widely as possible (as much as the facilities accept) so that more people can become at least first-year students. The competition then should be continuous throughout the four-year period, not just at the time of entry to a university. As far as the Engineering Departments are concerned, the graduate school, particularly at the master's course level, should have more people who have worked for several years in industry. This is popular in North America. W e believe that the exchange of people and knowledge be­ tween universities and industries is very important for both sides. Growth of Japanese Chemical Industries T h e Beginning of the Chemical Industry. The origin of the Japan­ ese chemical industry was at the beginning of the Meiji E r a . It was actually an outgrowth of knowledge from the Tokugawa E r a . Scholars who learned the Dutch language or Dutch scholars thoroughly system­ atized the chemical industry in an occidental way. The Proclamation of the Commercial Law was made in 1868 by the M e i j i government in order to modernize Japan. The aim was to import modern industries from advanced countries and to stimulate the domestic commercial and industrial activities of Japan. Prior to this, domestic industries had the traditional and historical background of guild socialism which maintained order and control. Once freed from feudalistic con­ trol, a very large number of small industries started up almost every­ where. Sulfuric acid started in 1872, caustic soda in 1877, and the

Furter; History of Chemical Engineering Advances in Chemistry; American Chemical Society: Washington, DC, 1980.

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15. JIMBO ET AL.

Chemical Engineering in Japan

cement industry i n 1873. These were all run by govt Soap (1873) and matches (1875) were run by private hai petitive position i n world markets was obtained through 1 of child and female labor. The Kaiseisho (1863), founde during the Tokugawa E r a , was one of the predecessors oJ sity which was established in 1877 and included a Che ment. The Japan Chemical Society was organized in U In 1877, the L e Blanc process was tried but it fail again i n 1895. When Solvay production of soda excee 70%, it is curious to note that they should try to establii process with such a small demand as existed in 1895. the L e Blanc process and the electrolysis method were industries and were easy to industrialize on a small seal O n the contrary, the ammonia soda process is a com operations and is a fairly large continuous process. M o r raw material is required to manufacture the highly purifii reactions have to be performed with more precision. Ί and operation of the process requires a much more soph: technology. Therefore, the advantage of scale is that it also requires more investment. Moreover, the process purified salt as raw material, and this must be importe these circumstances, it is important to consider the am volved i n the industrialization of the ammonia-soda pre E a r l y G r o w t h . The following charts the beginning c ammonia process in the world: Haber Bosch Germany (1910), England (1924), Frai T N R I - J a p a n (1929) Claude France (1919), Italy (1924), United Sta Japan (1924), Germany (1928) Cassale Italy (1922), Japan (1924), France (1925) (1928) Fauser Italy (1923), Germany (1928), Japan (IS NEC Germany, France, Japan (1930) T N R I stands for the Temporary Nitrogen Research Ins now the Government Chemical Industrial Research Insl Original Japanese research started with only one ret. al. i n Zeitschrift fur Electrochemie. In order to establi the following technology was indispensable: 1. synthesis of ammonia; industry based on chemie 2. analysis of high-pressure reactions; chemical e theory i n physical chemistry (thermodynamics);

Furter; History of Chemical Engineering Advances in Chemistry; American Chemical Society: Washington, DC, 1980.

280

HISTORY OF CHEMICAL ENGINEERING

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3. High-pressure process, starting from synthetic dye stuff; 4. Continuous process (based on ammonia-soda process); 5. Catalytic chemistry—contact sulfuric acid process. The researchers of T N R I had developed a modification of the Haber process—the Tokoshi Process—which was composed of all domestic machines and apparatus except for the Linde air-separating machine. Industrialization of this process was tried by Showa-Denko in 1929; production was recorded at 20 tons per day. The Hikoshima plant started by importing technology for ammonia synthesis. A pilot plant having a daily production run of 5 tons was constructed utilizing the Claude process from France at a cost of 5,000,000 yen. The commercial process at Hikoshima started in 1924, but this system was new and needed many improvements. There were several accidents, causing explosions and casualties. Steady production was not reached until 1928. The Reconstruction of Japanese Industry In 1945, the United States' economic policy for Japan and West Germany included a decision to reconstruct Japan and West Germany as the active factories for Asia and Europe. Special and strong methods were required to resume production and get out from under a paralyzed economy. The first phase of recovery was started with what was called an "inclined production theme." "It is to put all economic resources into the production of the basic material, coal, which was only able to be controlled i n our hand . . . It is most important to support industrial production by increasing production of this primary material urgently" (7). Then heavy oil (which was allowed to be imported by G H Q ) , and coal (which was domestically produced), were supplied to the iron and steel industry. Steel products, in turn, were supplied to the coal i n ­ dustry for its production. There was a weak policy controlling price structures at that time, but there was no strong organization to support the new production theme. However, it was one way to make heavy chemical industries predominant over the industrial structure. Reconstruction of the Japanese chemical industry began with the chemical fertilizer (ammonia sulfate) industry, with the government sup­ porting the basic chemical industries such as ammonia, carbide, and sulfuric acid. During the establishment of these basic industries, chemical engineering unit operations provided the technical basis for this industrialization.

Furter; History of Chemical Engineering Advances in Chemistry; American Chemical Society: Washington, DC, 1980.

15.

JIMBO ET AL.

Chemical Engineering in Japan

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As the inclined production theme progressed, rationalizations were required for industry, and the chemical industry changed in quality as gas sources changed. Those consuming hydraulic power, coal, and coke changed energy sources to heavy oil, natural gas, waste gasfromthe iron industry, and gasification of crude oil. The expanding vinyl chloride market helped industry to escape from inclined production.

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Higher Growth Petrochemicals played a major role in generating higher growth for the chemical industry. From the view point of industrial policy, in­ novation of new materials started in 1961. This innovation was accom­ panied by processing technology and manufacturing processes. Machine tools, industrial machines, the apparatus and equipment industry, com­ puter control, and the changing ammonia-soda process contributed to this growth. The consumption revolution happened with technical innovation and equipment investment. Production of color televisions, automobiles, and air conditioners (prices around 200,000-500,000 yen) are one side. Alumi­ num, paper, plastic, and transistors are the other side. In 1970, energy distribution was 8% coal and 71% oil compared with 47% coal and 18% oil in 1953. Literature Cited 1. Shimao, N. Doshisha-jihyo University, Jihyo, 1977, Nov., 62, No. 53, p. 4. 2. Hougen, O.A. Chem. Eng.Prog.1977, Jan., 73, 89. 3. Hatta, S. Kagakukogaku 1968, 32, 390. 4. Kamei, S. Kagakukogaku 1962, 26, 5. 5. Kamei, S. Tokyo Institute of Technology, Kagaku Kogakuka Dosokaishi, 25 Shunen Kinengo 1963, p. 3. 6. Nishikawa Torakichi Tsuisoroku, Kyushu University, 1951; p. 411. 7. Arisawa, H. Hyoron, Hyoron-sha 1947, Jan. RECEIVED May 7, 1979.

Furter; History of Chemical Engineering Advances in Chemistry; American Chemical Society: Washington, DC, 1980.