Monsanto Dedicates Texas City Memorial and Plant

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<ul><li><p>Monsanto Dedicates Texas lily Menorial and Plant JL HE physical part of the men and the </p><p>plant has gone, but not the products of their minds, these will l ive on." With the flag flying at half mast against a brilliant sky the monument on which these words of Edgar Monsanto Queeny are inscribed in ageless granite was dedicated, and with it the new Texas City plant of the Mon-santo Chemical Co., erected on the founda-tions of the plant levelled by the explosion of the SS Grandcamp on April 16, 1947. Under other circumstances the dedication of such a plant would be the occasion for enthusiastic display; on this occasion the hundreds of employees andjnterested visitors could but feel close to H. K. Eck-ert, plant manager, when his voice broke again and again during the dedicatory ad-dress, in referring to those 145 employees whose names are inscribed on this monu-ment at the entrance to the plant. "This stone monument," said Mr. Eckert, "erected here to their memory, does not signify that they are dead. It signifies only that they are absent while their ac-complishments live on in an active, mov-ing and operating monument that is in every sense alive." </p><p>The ceremony, opened and closed with prayer, was presided over by Joseph R. Mares, general manager of Monsanto's Texas Division. Osborne Bezanson, first plant manager at Texas City and now a member of the company's executive com-mittee, spoke briefly. It was a solemn crowd that walked away to tour the new plant which has arisen, in the words spoken later in the day by William M. Rand, chair-man of the executive committee"out of the flame and the smoke, phoenixlike," to confirm Monsanto's statement immedi-ately after the great disaster"We are going to stay in Texas City." </p><p>The new 56-acre styrene plant is essen-tially the same as the one destroyed; only the polyst3rrene facilities were not rebuilt. Although the exact reconstruc-tion cost is not known, the insurance settlement was for $17,312,000. Ethyl-ene, one of the starting materials in sty-rene manufacture, was again produced in the plant on March 6, 1948, and the first shipment of styrene made on Aug. 13 of that year. It is important to note that while operation of the plant is considered no more hazardous than refinery work, elaborate safety precautions have been taken and. the fire-fighting equipment' is equivalent to that for a small town. A Gamewell alarm system, high and low pressure water lines and a sprinkler system, foam distribution lines, and an American-LaFrance fire truck make up the protec-tion against other disasters. </p><p>As a significant part of the day's </p><p>A ^ T A F P REPORT </p><p>events a technical symposium was held in the afternoon at the Shamrock Hotel in Houston, to consider the future of Gulf Coast hydrocarbon resources. Presided over by W. V. Houston, president of Rice Institute, the panel consisted of Paul Weaver, chief geophysicist for the Gulf Oil Corp.; W. J. Murray, Jr., Texas Railroad Commission; and Richard Gon-zalez, economist for Humble Oil and Re-fining Co. </p><p>Attempting to answer the questions of "where?" and "how much?" oil and gas we can expect t o find, Mr. Weaver out-lined the fundamental differences between methods of estimating oil 15 years ago, when decline curves on producing wells were simply projected, and today, when application of modern physics make much more accurate predictions possible. Re-calling that the estimation of reserves takes into account only those fields which are actually producing, he reminded his audience that only 36 counties in Texas were producing in 1935 as against 185 today, that there were only 12 fields in the Houston vicinity in 1910 as against 188 in 1945, and that this increase in oil fields has greatly broadened the base of re-serves. Stating that Texas reserves are currently estimated a t 12,484,000 barrels of crude oil, 2,074,000,000 barrels of natural gas liquids, and 14,588,000 million cubic feet of natural gas, plus large re-serves recoverable only by secondary re-covery methods, he indicated that the t * d in Texas is upward, citing an increase in crude oil reserves over the last year of almost 2 billion barrels, with production only half that. Mr. Weaver pictured the natural gas reserves as equally en-couraging and the out-look for Louisiana simi-lar to that of Texas. He continued, saying that oil and gas can be pro-duced on the Gulf Coast at the present rate with a small margin for increase, providing an extraordi-nary demand does not arise, and that drilling below 12 0O0 feet (now possible but expensive) will in the Houston area alone add 4 0 % to the prospective territory for an additional 8,000 feet drilled. He does not feel that exports from the area will influence oil and gas resources in a substantial manner. </p><p>loth Weaver and Murray stated flatly that tlie o i l and gas resources were going to b e exhausted, but that there was no danger of running out in the immediate future. As an example of changing stand-ards of recovery and conservation Mr. Murray cited the condition of a few years ago when three to four barrels of oil were left underground for every barrel pro-duced, and pointed to today's- record, whi ch has virtually reversed this in many a i m s . Cooperation between producers and use of new techniques has resulted in East Texas in a recovery efficiency ofSO% The Texas legislature has before it a, bill t o prevent possibility of antitrust </p><p>suits against such cooperative enterprises. D r . Gonzalez predicted an annual in-</p><p>crease of 2, 3, and 5% respectively in the use of ail hydrocarbons, oil, and natural gas in the United States for the next sev-eral years, and said that gas prices will advance, partly because they have been subnormal in comparison to other fuels, to perhaps 1.5 to 20 cents per thousand cubic feet at Ike wells within the next few years. Even at "this price Dr. Gonzalez felt that gas wouLd still be attractive relative to fuel oil a n d that better gas prices offer one of t h e best means of conservation. He also predicted that the price averages of fuels with respect to other commodities will tend, to increase during the next 20 years du to long term cost trends, and concluded with the statement that ample; supplies o f gas and oil are still available in the Gulf Coast area for additional indus-trial expansion. </p><p>Karl T. Conijtorm9 clumirman of the National Mili-tary Establishment Research and Development Board, speaks on f/ie subject "Men and Ideas" </p><p>1212 C H E M I C A L A N D E N G I N E E R I N G N E W S </p></li><li><p>Joseph R. Mares, vice president of Monsanto Chemical Co. ami general manager of the Texas division; and H. K. Eckert, manager of the Texas City plant, inspect tnemarial dedicated to the 145 employees lost in the disaster </p><p>Magnetic Cliitch Holds MPA J. H E magnetic fluid clutch, discussed by </p><p>H. D . Saunderson, National Bureau of Standards, was a subject of much interest to the meeting of the Metal Powder Asso-ciation in Chicago April 5 and 6. A record turn-out of nearly 300 evinced the interest in the comparatively new indus-trial process, powder metallurgy. </p><p>In discussing the characteristics of ma-terials involved in the clutch, Mr. Saun-derson emphasized the requirements for operation of the unit which consists essen-tially of two plates, the space between which is filled with a magnetic liquid, the characteristics of which are controlled by </p><p>A magnetic flux. The liquid, he said, con-tains the powder of some magnetic ma-terial, an oil or other vehicle, and an addi-tive to improve the physical characteris-tics of the mixture. </p><p>Iron carbonyl powder has been the most universally successful magnetic material, stated Mr. Saunderson, while molyb-denum powders have all of the desirable attributes except high permeability. For this reason their use has been discontinued generally. Hydrogen-reduced iron is not satisfactory because of corrosion and cata-lytic activity toward most of the oils used. </p><p>The fluids which show the most promise of being useful in the highest temperature ranges, according to Mr. Saunderson, are the trifluorochloroethylenes, which, how-ever, give off toxic vapors at 450 F. Hexachlorobutadiene is interesting by vir-tue of its nonflammability, but it does tend .to decompose at high temperatures and form gels. Polymethylsiloxanes are useful below 250 F. Agents are needed to prevent settling of the powder. Oleic acid or alkylaryl polyglycol ether may be used </p><p>A STAFF REPORT </p><p>to give thixotropic mixtures at low tem-peratures, polyethylene glycol oleate up to 175 F., and butyl oleate up the 300 F. Wetting agents to assure wetting of the surfaces of individual particles are also useful. Those recommended were para-dichlorobenzene, sulfotricarbolyllate, and dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate, but, i t was stated, none has been found successful above 200 F . </p><p>Other uses for the principle involved in this clutch were suggested, including mag-netic valves, molding materials, dash pots, and shock absorbers. </p><p>Concluding the day was a banquet ad-dress by KarlT. Compton. Dr . Comp-ton examined the role of science in its re-lationship to the major aspirations and objectives of our people, stressed the in-creasing efforts of industry to use our natural resources more efficiently and the closer relationships between industrial and university labora.tories. "Men and ideas," he said, "have constructed our past and will forge our future." Our basic prob-lems will b e solved by "the understanding, skill and loyalty of great numbers of people who are first the pioneers ^md sec-ond t i e craftsmen and third the bene-ficiaries of these ideas." </p><p>The words of Mr. Rand expressed the spirit of Monsanto and the day: "We had lost many of the men who had built the [fonner] plantwe had lost some of the men in whose dreams a better plant had formed. Their friends and as-sociates, who st i l l lived, shared their dreams. Could a. company abandon such a force?.. .andso *westayed in Texas City.*' </p><p>Interest J. L. Bonanno, Lionel Corp., discussed </p><p>powder metallurgy from the design engi-neers standpoint, noting that while "powder metallurgy is not a panacea for all design engineers' troubles, it is peculiarly well-suited for t h e fabrication of many small structural parts produced in large quantities.'' Mr. Bonanno described how the Lionel Corp. has made an almost com-plete change-over from die casting, ma-chining, and slain ping production methods to powder metallurgy methods wherever possible in the manufacture of their model electric trains. </p><p>D. .Vf. Borcina of Metal Powder Association, IV. P. Winsor, of Materials and Methods magazine, and G. L. Bachner, Powdered Metal Prod acts Corp. of America </p><p>V O L U M E 2 7, N O . 1 7 A P R I L 2 5, 1 9 4 9 1213 </p><p>Monsanto Dedicates Texas City Memorial and PlantA STAFF REPORT</p></li></ul>