Planté, Raimond Louis Gaston

SUBJECT AREA: Electricity
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b. 22 April 1834 Orthez, France
d. 21 May 1889 Paris, France
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French physicist and inventor of a secondary electric cell from which was developed the widely used lead-acid storage battery.
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After a scientific training at the Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers, Planté obtained an appointment as a Laboratory Assistant to Becquerel. Later, when he was employed as a chemist in the Parisian electroplating firm of Christofle et Cie, he carried out investigations into polarization in electrical cells, which led to his discovery of the lead-acid accumulator in 1859. This cell, with lead plates in an electrolyte of dilute sulphuric acid, had the characteristics of a storage device for electrical energy. Its performance was improved considerably if it was repeatedly charged and discharged, the active material being formed electrochemically from the lead of the plate itself. At the time of its discovery the Planté cell had little practical application and it was not until satisfactory dynamos were introduced that its commercial exploitation was possible. The cell was improved by Faure and later by Swan and others. The lead-acid cell became considerably important in the early days of electricity supply and later for electric traction and automobile use. The results of Planté's researches were communicated to the Academy of Sciences and published in various scientific periodicals. He devoted the last few years of his life to the study of atmospheric electricity.
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Principal Honours and Distinctions
Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur 1881. Société d'Encouragement pour l'Industrie Nationale Médaille d'Ampère.
Bibliography
1860, "Nouvelle Pile secondaire d'une grande puissance", Comptes rendus 50:640–2. See Recherches sur l'électricité, Paris, 1879.
Further Reading
G.Wood Vinal, 1955, Storage Batteries, 4th edn, London (describes developments subsequent to Planté's work).
E.W.Wade, 1902, Secondary Batteries, London.
GW

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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