Grove, Sir William Robert

SUBJECT AREA: Electricity
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b. 11 July 1811 Swansea, Wales
d. 1 August 1896 London, England
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Welsh chemist and physicist, inventor of the Grove electrochemical primary cell.
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After education at Brasenose College, Oxford, Grove was called to the Bar in 1835. Instead of immediately practising, he became involved in electrical research, devising in 1839 the cell that bears his name. He became Professor of Experimental Philosophy at the London Institution from 1840 to 1845; it was during this period that he built up his high reputation among physicists. In 1846 he published On the Correlation of Physical Forces, which was based on a course of his lectures. He returned to the practice of law, becoming a judge in 1871, but retained his interest in scientific research during his sixteen-year occupancy of the Bench. He served as a member of the Council of the Royal Society in 1846 and 1847 and played a leading part in its reform. Contributing to the science of electrochemistry, he invented the Grove cell, which together with its modification by Bunsen became an important source of electrical energy during the middle of the nineteenth century, before mechanically driven generators became available. The Grove cell had a platinum electrode immersed in strong nitric acid, separated by a porous diaphragm from a zinc electrode in weak sulphuric acid. The hydrogen formed at the platinum electrode was immediately oxidized by the acid, turning it into water. This avoided the polarization which occurred in the early copper-zinc cells. It was a very powerful primary cell with a high voltage and a low internal resistance, but it produced objectionable fumes. Grove also invented his "gas battery", the earliest fuel cell, in which a current resulted from the chemical energy released from combining oxygen and hydrogen. This was developed by Rawcliffe and others, and found applications as a power source in manned spacecraft.
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Principal Honours and Distinctions
Knighted 1872. FRS 1840. Fellow of the Chemistry Society 1841. Royal Society Royal Medal 1847.
Bibliography
1846, On the Correlation of Physical Forces, London; 1874, 6th edn, with reprints of many of Grove's papers (his only book, an early view on the conservation of energy).
1839, "On a small voltaic battery of great energy", Philosophical Magazine 15:287–93 (his account of his cell).
Further Reading
Obituary, 1896, Electrician 37:483–4.
K.R.Webb, 1961, "Sir William Robert Grove (1811–1896) and the origin of the fuel cell", Journal of the Royal Institute of Chemistry 85: 291–3 (for the present-day significance of Grove's experiments).
C.C.Gillispie (ed.), 1972, Dictionary of Scientific Biography, Vol. V, New York, pp. 559–61.
GW

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

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  • Grove, Sir William Robert — ▪ British physicist born July 11, 1811, Swansea, Glamorgan, Wales died Aug. 1, 1896, London       British physicist and a justice of Britain s high court (from 1880), who first offered proof of the thermal dissociation of atoms within a molecule …   Universalium

  • GROVE. SIR WILLIAM ROBERT —    lawyer and physicist, burn at Swansea; called to the bar; was made a judge in 1871, and knighted a year later, and from 1875 to 1887 he was one of the judges in the High Court of Justice; throughout his life he busied himself in optical and… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • William Robert Grove — William Grove Pour les articles homonymes, voir Grove. William Robert Grove Sir William Robert Grove (né le 11 juillet …   Wikipédia en Français

  • William Robert Grove — Infobox Scientist name = PAGENAME box width = image width =150px caption = PAGENAME birth date = 11 July, 1811 birth place = Swansea in Wales death date = 1 August, 1896 death place = London residence = citizenship = nationality = ethnicity =… …   Wikipedia

  • Sir William Grove — Grove bei einem Treffen der British Association for the Advancement of Science (1844) Grove sches Element (Holzstich 1897) Sir William Robert Grove (* …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • William Robert Grove — Grove bei einem Treffen der British Association for the Advancement of Science (1844) Grove sches Element (Holzstich 1897) Sir William Robert Grove (* …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • William Grove — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Grove. William Robert Grove Sir William Robert Grove (né le 11 juillet 1811 à Swansea …   Wikipédia en Français

  • William Grove — Grove bei einem Treffen der British Association for the Advancement of Science (1844) …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Grove — (spr. grōw ), 1) Sir William Robert, Physiker, geb. 14. Juli 1811 in Swansea, gest. 2. Aug. 1896 in London, studierte die Rechte in Oxford, war fünf Jahre Advokat in London, widmete sich dann der Physik, wurde 1840 Professor an der London… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Grove-Element —   [ grəʊv ; nach dem britischen Physiker Sir William Robert Grove, * 1811, ✝ 1896], ein elektrochemisches Element mit einer Zinkelektrode als Kathode und einer nichtauflösbaren Platinelektrode als Anode sowie Salpetersäure als Elektrolyt …   Universal-Lexikon

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