Year 11 Chemistry Excursions
Over the past two weeks, three Year 11 classes of VCE Chemistry students have been lucky enough to don bright orange fire-retardant overalls, hard hats, steel-capped boots, safety glasses and gloves for a tour of the Lyondell Basell Propylene Plant in Corio. Located within the Viva Energy Oil Refinery, the Lyondell Basell Plant uses Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) as its raw material. LPG is a mixture of propane and propene gas that remains after the refining of Crude Oil to produce petrol and diesel. The propane gas is separated from the propene gas and sent to Dandenong by truck where it is put in gas bottles for BBQs or delivered to petrol stations for fuel. The propene gas is treated with a catalyst to manufacture small plastic pellets of polypropylene, which is sent all over Australia, and exported overseas, to clients who use different grades of the pellets to make toilet seats, chocolate bar wrappers and synthetic grass among many other products. This excursion allows students to see a manufacturing plant with a chemical basis. It brings some of their classroom learning about the production of polymers to life and allows them to see some of the different jobs that exist at such a plant, including chemical engineers, process engineers and quality control chemists as well as truck drivers, sales staff and various trades including mechanics and fitters and turners.