Speciality Chemicals Sector

RSC Speciality Chemicals Sector

The Speciality Chemicals Sector is one of the RSC's many Interest Groups. The Interest Groups are member driven groups which exist to benefit RSC members, and the wider chemical science community, in line with the RSC's strategy and charter.


  • To promote the development and application of speciality chemicals, both within the RSC and externally.
  • To act as a focal point for the applications of chemistry within the speciality chemicals industry.
  • To provide consultation to the RSC in relation to speciality chemicals.
  • To work with RSC Groups to ensure collaboration on speciality chemical matters and events.
  • To interact with other Groups which have an interest in the speciality chemicals industry in order to facilitate a multi- or inter-disciplinary approach to chemistry in that industry, and meet the needs of professional practice in the modern industrial environment.
  • To promote more effective integration at the industry-academia interface.
  • To build links with external organisations which operate in the area of speciality chemicals.  


  • The committee organise a number of conferences, symposia and exhibitions each year on topics relevant to our members.
  • An annual sector newsletter, which contains information on future events as well as reports on past activities and other items of interest is available online. 
  • The Group also promotes chemistry through supporting talks and demonstrations in primary and secondary schools, the support of science weeks and science fairs, science web sites, events staged by local sections, and activities for schools run by external organisations.  


We also have an online community, which is based on MyRSC, for anyone who shares our interests.

Get Involved

We are always looking for new members who are keen to get involved and to help organise our activities. If you would like to find out more please contact the Secretary.


Our conference programme includes the annual Chemsource Symposium and Chemistry in the Oil Industry, a 2 day symposium and exhibition which takes place every 2 years.


The latest Newsletter is now available

Zinc – Hunting for Minerals

In 2012 the group won our International Year of Chemistry Challenge with a project centred on the metal zinc. A line of mineralisation in limestone runs through North Wales from the coast at Prestatyn, then inland through Mold and finally to Minera, near Wrexham. This has been historically exploited for lead and zinc.

Lead has a poor reputation due to its waste from mining being scattered around before the full extent of the toxicity was known. However, zinc, the historically less valuable partner, is poorly known and is a much less hazardous material for primary children’s chemistry.

Six local schools received visits explaining the history of the area, the significance of zinc and enough resources to conduct their own zinc hunt!

Experiments included:

  • The children measure zinc concentrations using colourmetric dip-strips used to test for zinc in water.
  • Some children collect soil samples from their local areas and add these to water with a trace of acid.
  • Other children try to find sources of zinc leachate/soil samples dripping from roofs and other galvanised parts.
  • An in-school experiment involves some zinc sheet left out in the rain to drain into a beaker.
  • A simple zinc-copper battery can be made using a lemon.  

The results were collected and report on the results of all six schools sent to each school. The report is now available to download.

Join this Interest Group

If you are a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry and would like to join an Interest Group, please contact Membership Department using the email link below with:

  • your name
  • your membership number
  • state the name of the group you wish to join    

Downloadable Files

Annual Report 2018
PDF iconPDF (261k)  

Zinc Project for Primary Schools
Download the report
PDF iconPDF (1057k)  

PDF files require Link icon Adobe Acrobat Reader

Related Links

Link icon Speciality Chemicals Sector Website
Information on the Conference Programme and Publications of the Speciality Chemicals Sector of the RSC

Link icon The Catalyst Science Discovery Centre
Catalyst is the only science centre (and museum) solely devoted to chemistry and how the products of chemistry are used in every day life - from medicines to meccano. Its key aim is to inform people of all ages about chemistry, industry and its role in our lives, past present and future.

Link icon EOSCA Website
European Oilfield Speciality Chemicals Association

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Contact and Further Information

Membership Department
Thomas Graham House, Science Park, Milton Road, Cambridge, CB4 0WF
Tel: +44 (0) 1223 432 141