The Polymers movie

Premiere on the Discovery Channel.

It offers a virtual dive into the fascinating world of chemistry, fr om natural carbon compounds to the manufacturing of modern plastics and then a high-level view of the science and technology behind ZapSibNeftekhim.

Its scale is striking. ZapSibNeftekhim is one of just five facilities in the world that produce basic polymers on such a huge scale. The unique, advanced production facility for deep conversion of natural feedstocks into polymers took four years to launch and spans over a site area of 460 hectares. The facility is fully automated. Oversized equipment for the project was supplied fr om seven countries around the world and from 35 regions across Russia. The delivery of two 106-metre long, 800-tonne fractionation columns for the steam cracker in Tobolsk called for the use of special-purpose ships, the dredging of the Irtysh River, and the construction of a series of roads and bridges. The amount of concrete and metal used in the construction of the facility would have been enough to build two Burj Khalifa skyscrapers.

Hundreds of specialists from across Russia and the world contributed to the construction of the facility and furnished it with equipment. A foreign engineer called it an amazing multicultural adventure, wh ere people worked together and shared their expertise despite their differences.

ZapSibNeftekhim’s employees introduce viewers to polyethylene and polypropylene production technology in an engaging and accessible manner. Viewers leave their ordinary world behind, with the nine enormous cracking furnaces looking like fantastic giants and the advanced process equipment turning into a perfect Transformer. Surprisingly, this is wh ere mundane plastic is born.

Polymers are used to manufacture modern intelligent and aesthetic prosthetics. Shape-memory polymers are employed to develop artificial muscles

Environmental safety is paramount to production. Lyudmila Sheshukova, Head of Environmental Protection at ZapSibNeftekhim, speaks about the ongoing environmental monitoring at the facility, while standard practice requires only regular sampling of the air, water and soil.

Parallel to its continuous operation, there is a constant search for the best applications of polymers in many industries.

Konstantin Vernigorov, CEO of SIBUR PolyLab (an R&D centre for the development and testing of polymer products), says that one of PolyLab’s goals is to study and modify the properties of polymers in such a way as to unlock new applications for them, perhaps by squeezing out traditional materials somewhere. The ability to recycle and reuse almost 100% of polymers makes them a staple material for a circular economy.

The film is available here.

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