Sulfuric Acid Manufacture

2nd Edition

Analysis, Control and Optimization

Authors: Matt King Michael Moats William Davenport
Hardcover ISBN: 9780080982205
eBook ISBN: 9780080982267
Imprint: Elsevier
Published Date: 29th May 2013
Page Count: 608
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By some measure the most widely produced chemical in the world today, sulfuric acid has an extraordinary range of modern uses, including phosphate fertilizer production, explosives, glue, wood preservative and lead-acid batteries. An exceptionally corrosive and dangerous acid, production of sulfuric acid requires stringent adherence to environmental regulatory guidance within cost-efficient standards of production.

This work provides an experience-based review of how sulfuric acid plants work, how they should be designed and how they should be operated for maximum sulfur capture and minimum environmental impact. Using a combination of practical experience and deep physical analysis, Davenport and King review sulfur manufacturing in the contemporary world where regulatory guidance is becoming ever tighter (and where new processes are being required to meet them), and where water consumption and energy considerations are being brought to bear on sulfuric acid plant operations. This 2e will examine in particular newly developed acid-making processes and new methods of minimizing unwanted sulfur emissions.

The target readers are recently graduated science and engineering students who are entering the chemical industry and experienced professionals within chemical plant design companies, chemical plant production companies, sulfuric acid recycling companies and sulfuric acid users. They will use the book to design, control, optimize and operate sulfuric acid plants around the world.

Key Features

  • Unique mathematical analysis of sulfuric acid manufacturing processes, providing a sound basis for optimizing sulfuric acid manufacturing processes
  • Analysis of recently developed sulfuric acid manufacturing techniques suggests advantages and disadvantages of the new processes from the energy and environmental points of view
  • Analysis of tail gas sulfur capture processes indicates the best way to combine sulfuric acid making and tailgas sulfur-capture processes from the energy and environmental points of view
  • Draws on industrial connections of the authors through years of hands-on experience in sulfuric acid manufacture


Chemists, Chemical Engineers, Industrial Engineers, Chemical plant operators, chemical manufacturers; Any researcher, scientist, and student with an interest in sulfuric acid

Table of Contents


1. Overview

1.1 Catalytic oxidation of SO2 to SO3

1.2 H2SO4 production

1.3 Industrial flowsheet

1.4 Sulfur burning

1.5 Metallurgical offgas

1.6 Spent acid regeneration

1.7 Sulfuric acid product

1.8 Recent developments

1.9 Alternative processes

1.10 Summary


Suggested reading

2. Production and consumption

2.1 Uses

2.2 Acid plant locations

2.3 Price

2.4 Summary


Suggested reading

3. Sulfur burning

3.1 Objectives

3.2 Sulfur

3.3 Molten sulfur delivery

3.4 Sulfur atomizers and sulfur burning furnaces

3.5 Product gas

3.6 Heat recovery boiler

3.7 Summary


Suggested reading

4. Metallurgical offgas cooling and cleaning

4.1 Initial and final SO2 concentrations

4.2 Initial and final dust concentrations

4.3 Offgas cooling and heat recovery

4.4 Electrostatic collection of dust

4.5 Water scrubbing (Tables 4.5 and 4.6)

4.6 H2O(g) removal from scrubber exit gas (Tables 4.5 and 4.6)

4.7 Summary


Suggested reading

5. Regeneration of spent sulfuric acid

5.1 Spent acid compositions

5.2 Spent acid handling

5.3 Decomposition

5.4 Decomposition furnace product

5.5 Optimum decomposition furnace operating conditions

5.6 Preparation of offgas for SO2 oxidation and H2SO4 making

5.7 Summary


Suggested Reading

6. Dehydrating air and gases with strong sulfuric acid

6.1 Chapter objectives

6.2 Dehydration with strong sulfuric acid

6.3 Dehydration reaction mechanism

6.4 Residence times

6.5 Recent adva


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About the Author

Matt King

Michael Moats

Affiliations and Expertise

University of Utah, UT, USA

William Davenport

Professor William George Davenport is a graduate of the University of British Columbia and the Royal School of Mines, London. Prior to his academic career he worked with the Linde Division of Union Carbide in Tonawanda, New York. He spent a combined 43 years of teaching at McGill University and the University of Arizona. His Union Carbide days are recounted in the book Iron Blast Furnace, Analysis, Control and Optimization (English, Chinese, Japanese, Russian and Spanish editions). During the early years of his academic career he spent his summers working in many of Noranda Mines Company’s metallurgical plants, which led quickly to the book Extractive Metallurgy of Copper. This book has gone into five English language editions (with several printings) and Chinese, Farsi and Spanish language editions. He also had the good fortune to work in Phelps Dodge’s Playas flash smelter soon after coming to the University of Arizona. This experience contributed to the book Flash Smelting, with two English language editions and a Russian language edition and eventually to the book Sulfuric Acid Manufacture (2006), 2nd edition 2013. In 2013 co-authored Extractive Metallurgy of Nickel, Cobalt and Platinum Group Metals, which took him to all the continents except Antarctica. He and four co-authors are just finishing up the book Rare Earths: Science, Technology, Production and Use, which has taken him around the United States, Canada and France, visiting rare earth mines, smelters, manufacturing plants, laboratories and recycling facilities. Professor Davenport’s teaching has centered on ferrous and non-ferrous extractive metallurgy. He has visited (and continues to visit) about 10 metallurgical plants per year around the world to determine the relationships between theory and industrial practice. He has also taught plant design and economics throughout his career and has found this aspect of his work particularly rewarding. The delight of his life at the univer

Affiliations and Expertise

University of Arizona, Tuscon, AZ, USA


"The 2006 first edition has been updated with seven new chapters, and one additional author, Moats…They consider such topics as metallurgical offgas cooling and cleaning, the catalytic oxidation of S2 to S3, the second catalyst bed heatup path, the three catalyst bed acid plant, acid temperature and control and heat recovery, wet sulfuric acid process fundamentals, and the cost of sulfuric acid production." --Reference & Research Book News, December 2013