A. D. Reichle Baton Rouge, La. As we approach the fiftieth anniversary of the start-up of the first commercial fluid catalytic cracker, it seems appropriate that we examine some of the background and details of that auspicious event and how it came about. Not only was this the birth of what rapidly became the world's major refining process, but also the beginning of fluidization technology that reached outside the oil industry. The advantages of a fluidized bed, with or without circulation, over fixed-bed, gas/solid contacting were quickly recognized within the chemical industry. And practical applications, particularly as a chemical r...

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