By far the largest end-use of sulphuric acid is the production of phosphate fertilisers. This is achieved by first reacting sulphuric acid with the phosphate rock to produce phosphoric acid which is subsequently used to produce phosphate fertilisers such as MAP (monoammonium phosphate) and DAP (and diammonium phosphate).
Sulphuric acid and Oleum are also used as a starting material in the production of a number of different chemical commodities, such as: Titanium dioxide, Methyl methacrylate (MMA), Hydrofluoric acid, Caprolactam, Rayon and Hydrochloric acid. The end-uses of these chemical commodities varies from pigments to polymers, fibres and engineering plastics to steel pickling.
Metals - Mining
Sulphuric Acid is used in ore processing and for the treatment of waste gases.
Sulphuric acid is also used in more niche applications such as the production of 2-ethylhexyl nitrate (2-ENH). This is produced by the nitration of 2-ethylhexanol (2-EH) using sulphuric acid, and serves as a cetane enhancer, increasing the combustion speed of diesel and therefore an engine’s efficiency. This niche application serves to demonstrate the diversity of end-uses of sulphuric acid.
Other end-uses of sulphuric acid include: Cosmetics and health care, Water treatment, Beverage and food industries, Metal sulphates, Base Metals, Dyes and intermediates, Detergents and soaps, and Pulp and paper.