Deville, Henri Etienne Sainte-Claire

SUBJECT AREA: Metallurgy
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b. 11 March 1818 St Thomas, Virgin Islands
d. 1 July 1881 Boulogne-sur-Seine, France
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French chemist and metallurgist, pioneer in the large-scale production of aluminium and other light metals.
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Deville was the son of a prosperous shipowner with diplomatic duties in the Virgin Islands. With his elder brother Charles, who later became a distinguished physicist, he was sent to Paris to be educated. He took his degree in medicine in 1843, but before that he had shown an interest in chemistry, due particularly to the lectures of Thenard. Two years later, with Thenard's influence, he was appointed Professor of Chemistry at Besançon. In 1851 he was able to return to Paris as Professor at the Ecole Normale Supérieure. He remained there for the rest of his working life, greatly improving the standard of teaching, and his laboratory became one of the great research centres of Europe. His first chemical work had been in organic chemistry, but he then turned to inorganic chemistry, specifically to improve methods of producing the new and little-known metal aluminium. Essentially, the process consisted of forming sodium aluminium trichloride and reducing it with sodium to metallic aluminium. He obtained sodium in sufficient quantity by reducing sodium carbonate with carbon. In 1855 he exhibited specimens of the metal at the Paris Exhibition, and the same year Napoleon III asked to see them, with a view to using it for breastplates for the Army and for spoons and forks for State banquets. With the resulting government support, he set up a pilot plant at Jarvel to develop the process, and then set up a small company, the Société d'Aluminium at Nan terre. This raised the output of this attractive and useful metal, so it could be used more widely than for the jewellery to which it had hitherto been restricted. Large-scale applications, however, had to await the electrolytic process that began to supersede Deville's in the 1890s. Deville extended his sodium reduction method to produce silicon, boron and the light metals magnesium and titanium. His investigations into the metallurgy of platinum revolutionized the industry and led in 1872 to his being asked to make the platinum-iridium (90–10) alloy for the standard kilogram and metre. Deville later carried out important work in high-temperature chemistry. He grieved much at the death of his brother Charles in 1876, and his retirement was forced by declining health in 1880; he did not survive for long.
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Bibliography
Deville published influential books on aluminium and platinum; these and all his publications are listed in the bibliography in the standard biography by J.Gray, 1889, Henri Sainte-Claire Deville: sa vie et ses travaux, Paris.
Further Reading
M.Daumas, 1949, "Henri Sainte-Claire Deville et les débuts de l'industrie de l'aluminium", Rev.Hist.Sci 2:352–7.
J.C.Chaston, 1981, "Henri Sainte-Claire Deville: his outstanding contributions to the chemistry of the platinum metals", Platinum Metals Review 25:121–8.
LRD

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

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Deville , Henri Etienne Sainte-Claire — (1818–1881) French chemist The son of a wealthy shipowner from the West Indies island of St. Thomas, Deville studied medicine in Paris but became interested in chemistry by attending Louis Thenard s lectures. He isolated toluene and methyl… …   Scientists

  • Henri Etienne Sainte-Claire Deville — (* 11. März 1818 in Saint Thomas, Westindien; † 1. Juli 1881 in Boulogne sur Seine, heute: Boulogne Billancourt) war ein französischer Chemiker. Sainte Claire Deville war Professor in Besançon u …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Henri Étienne Sainte-Claire Deville — (* 11. März 1818 in Saint Thomas, Westindien; † 1. Juli 1881 in Boulogne sur Seine, heute: Boulogne Billancourt) war ein französischer Chemiker. Sainte Claire Deville war Professor in Be …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Henri-Etienne Sainte-Claire Deville —     Henri Etienne Sainte Claire Deville     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► Henri Etienne Sainte Claire Deville     Chemist, b. at St. Thomas, West Indies, 11 March, 1818; d. at Boulogne, 1 July, 1881; brother of the preceding. Finishing his classical… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Henri Etienne Sainte-Claire Deville — (March 9, 1818 July 1, 1881) was a French chemist.He was born in the island of St Thomas, West Indies, where his father was French consul. Together with his elder brother Charles he was educated in Paris at the College Rollin. In 1844, having… …   Wikipedia

  • Sainte-Claire Deville, Henri-Etienne — • Chemist, b. at St. Thomas, West Indies, 11 March, 1818; d. at Boulogne, 1 July, 1881 Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006 …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Sainte-Claire Deville, Henri-Étienne — ▪ French chemist born March 11, 1818, St. Thomas, Danish Virgin Islands died July 1, 1881, Boulogne, France       French chemical researcher who invented the first economical process for producing aluminum.       Sainte Claire Deville was the son …   Universalium

  • Sainte-Claire Deville, Henri-Etienne — ► (1818 84) Químico francés. Autor de la teoría de la disociación. Descubrió el benceno y el pentóxido de nitrógeno …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • SAINTE-CLAIRE DEVILLE, HENRI ÉTIENNE —    a noted French chemist, born in St. Thomas, West Indies; occupied for many years the chair of Chemistry in the Sorbonne, Paris; his important contributions to chemical knowledge include a process for simplifying the extraction of aluminium and …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

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