Nitrocotton (Old) Acid Area
This close-up view of the Nitrocotton Acid area, under construction, was taken in October of 1942. This area produced the Nitric acid used to produce Nitrocotton and Nitroglycerine. This area also concentrated weak Sulfuric acid back to 94% Sulfuric acid used in the Nitric acid concentration process. Initially this area produced Nitric acid for the Nitrocotton production only. Towards the end of WWII rocket propellant and nitroglycerine production facilities were built so this area also provided the Nitric acid for Nitroglycerine production. Nitrocotton production was the first and principle user of the Nitric acid so this area was named the Nitrocotton Acid Area.
Click on buildings in the image above for a more detailed description of the parts of the area.
Starting at the left end of the photo the first building was the Compressor House where large air compressors provided combustion air for the next building which was the Ammonia Oxidation Process (A.O.P.). In the A.O.P. building ammonia was burned in the presence of a platinum catalyst producing nitrogen oxide gas that when combined with weak nitric acid produced 62% nitric acid. The waste gas from this process is used to cool the hot gas from the ammonia burner and then sent the compressor building to provide the energy to operate "steam" (the hot gas replaces the steam) engine powered air compressors. in the foreground in front of these two buildings are the tank saddles for the ammonia storage tanks for the A.O.P. building. The ammonia was brought in by rail car on the rail siding in front of the tanks.
The three buildings to the right of A.O.P. are (top down) Acid Area Maintenance Shop, Production Office, and Change House. Next are the foundations and tank supports for (top down) Acid Weigh House and weight tanks, the row of tall concrete footings are the supports for the concentrator towers of the Nitric Acid Concentrator building, last in this row is a Nitric Acid Circulator Building. The next two buildings are the Sulfuric Acid Concentrator buildings and the six columns are part of the third Sulfuric Acid Concentrator building. The two rows of square bases are the supports for stainless steel tanks used to store mixed acid for use in the Nitrocotton (NC) and Nitroglycerine (NG) processes. The row of six round bases are for steel tanks used to store Sulfuric Acid used in the Nitric Acid concentrating process and 40% Oleum used in the NC and NG processes. The 40% Oleum was produced in another part the plant and brought here by intra-plant rail tank car.
The photo below is this same area in 1998. The Acid Weigh house is gone and some of the stainless steel tanks and one steel tank have been removed. The stainless steel tanks were moved to a new state of the art acid production area completed in the 1992 to replace this area.