Bosch, Carl

SUBJECT AREA: Chemical technology
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b. 27 August 1874 Cologne, Germany
d. 26 April 1940 Heidelberg, Germany
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German industrial chemist who developed the industrial synthesis of ammonia.
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Bosch spent a year as a metalworker before studying chemistry at Leipzig University, obtaining his doctorate in 1898. The following year, he entered Badische Soda-, Anilin Fabrik (BASF), the leading German manufacturer of dyestuflfs. Between 1902 and 1907 he spent much time investigating processes for nitrogen fixation. In 1908 Fritz Haber told BASF of his laboratory-scale synthesis of ammonia from its constituent elements, and in the following year Bosch was assigned to developing it to the industrial scale. Leading a large team of chemists and engineers, Bosch designed the massive pressure converter and other features of the process and was the first to use the water gas shift reaction to produce the large quantities of hydrogen that were required. By 1913 Bosch had completed the largest chemical engineering plant at BASF's works at Oppau, and soon it was producing 36,000 tons of ammonium sulphate a year. Bosch enlarged the Oppau plant and went on to construct a larger plant at Leuna.
In 1914 Bosch was appointed a Director of BASF. At the end of the First World War he became Technical Adviser to the German delegation at the peace conference. During the 1920s BASF returned to its position of pre-eminence in high-pressure technology, thanks largely to Bosch's leadership. Although increasingly absorbed in administrative matters, Bosch was able to support the synthesis of methane and the hydrogenation of coal tar and lignite to make petrol. In 1925 BASF merged with other companies to form the giant IG Farbenindustrie AG, of which Bosch became Chairman of the Managing Board. His achievements received international recognition in 1931 when he was awarded, with F. Bergius, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for high-pressure synthesis.
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Bibliography
1932, Über die Entwicklung der chemischen Hochdruckindustrie bei der Aufbau der neuen Ammoniakindustrie.
Further Reading
K.Holdermann, 1953, Carl Bosch, Leben und Werk.
See also biographical memoir in Chemische Berichte 190 (1957), pp. xix–xxxix.
LRD

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

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