In the manufacture of chemicals, various reactions are commonplace, such as esterification (used in fragrances, pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, plasticisers, coalescents, surfactants, etc), transesterification (used in similar applications), quaternisation (surfactants, phase transfer, water treatment, etc) and endcapping (lubricants, heat fluids, refrigerants, etc).
Esterification is the well-known equilibrium reaction of acids and alcohols to form esters, with varying means being applied to push the equilibrium to the product. This process is one of the most practiced technologies in the chemical industry. Many manufacturers routinely produce esters, some of which require difficult separation of products and raw materials.
While it is a relatively simple reaction to perform in the laboratory, plants that manufacture on a large industrial scale need to be more precisely engineered. They need to take into account many parameters, such as: