Moissan, Ferdinand-Frédéric-Henri

SUBJECT AREA: Chemical technology
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b. 28 September 1852 Paris, France
d. 20 February 1907 Paris, France
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French chemist, the first to isolate fluorine, and a pioneer in high-temperature technology.
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His family, of modest means, moved in 1864 to Meaux, where he attended the municipal college; he returned to Paris before completing his education and apprenticed himself to a pharmacist. In 1872 he began work as a laboratory assistant at the Musée d'Histoire Naturelle, while continuing studies in chemistry. He qualified as a pharmacist at the Ecole Supérieure de Pharmacie in 1879, and by this time he had decided that his main interest was inorganic chemistry. His early investigations concerned the oxides of iron and related metals; his work attracted the favourable attention of Sainte-Claire Deville and was the subject of his doctoral thesis. In 1882 Moissan married Leonie Lugan, whose father provided generous financial support, enabling him to pursue his researches with greater freedom and security. He became, successively, Professor of Toxicology at the Ecole in 1886 and of Inorganic Chemistry in 1899. In 1884 Moissan began both his investigation of the compounds of fluorine and his attempts to isolate the highly reactive element itself. Previous attempts by chemists had ended in failure and sometimes injury. Moissan's health, too, was affected, but in June 1886 he succeeded in isolating fluorine by electrolysing potassium fluoride in hydrogen fluoride at −50°C (−58°F) in platinum apparatus. He was then able to prepare further compounds of fluorine, some of technological importance, such as carbon tetrafluoride. At the same time, Moissan turned his attention to the making of artificial diamonds. To achieve this, he devised his celebrated electric-arc furnace; this was first demonstrated in December 1892 and consisted of two lime blocks placed one above the other, with a cavity for a crucible and two grooves for carbon electrodes, and could attain a temperature of 3,500°C (6,332°F). It seemed at first that he had succeeded in making diamonds, but this attempt is now regarded as a failure. Nevertheless, with the aid of his furnace he was able to produce and study many substances of technological importance, including refractory oxides, borides and carbides, and such metals as manganese, chromium, uranium, tungsten, vanadium, molybdenum, titanium and zirconium; many of these materials had useful applications in the chemical and metallurgical industries (e.g. calcium carbide became the main source of acetylene).
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Principal Honours and Distinctions
Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1906.
Bibliography
There are several listings of his more than 300 publications, such as Lebeau, cited below. Major works are Le Four électrique (1897, Paris) and Le Fluor et ses composés (1900, Paris).
Further Reading
Centenaire de l'Ecole supérieure de pharmacie de l'Université de Paris 1803–1903,
1904, Paris, pp. 249–57.
B.Harrow, 1927, Eminent Chemists of Our Time, 2nd edn, New York, pp. 135–54, 374– 88.
P.Lebeau, 1908, "Notice sur la vie et les travaux de Henri Moissan", Bulletin Soc. chim. de France (4 ser.) 3:i–xxxviii.
LRD

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

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Moissan , Ferdinand Frédéric Henri — (1852–1907) French chemist Moissan came from a poor background in Paris, France. He was the son of a railroad worker and was apprenticed to a pharmacist before studying chemistry under Edmond Frémy at the Muséum National d Histoire Naturelle,… …   Scientists

  • Ferdinand-Frédéric-Henri Moissan — Henri Moissan Henri Moissan Ferdinand Frédéric Henri Moissan (né à Paris le 28 septembre 1852 et décédé à Paris le 20 février 1907) était un pharmacien français. Il est principalement connu pour avoir isolé le premier le fluor …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Moissan — Henri Moissan Henri Moissan Ferdinand Frédéric Henri Moissan (né à Paris le 28 septembre 1852 et décédé à Paris le 20 février 1907) était un pharmacien français. Il est principalement connu pour avoir isolé le premier le fluor …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Henri Moissan — Ferdinand Frederic Henri Moissan (* 28. September 1852 in Paris; † 20. Februar 1907 ebenda) war ein französischer Chemiker. Leben Ihm glückte es als erstem, am 26. Juni 1886 reines Fluor herzustellen. 1904 entdeckte Moissan im Meteoriten Krater… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Moissan — Henri Moissan Ferdinand Frederic Henri Moissan (* 28. September 1852 in Paris; † 20. Februar 1907 in Paris) war ein französischer Chemiker. Ihm glückte es als erstem, am 26. Juni 1886 reines Fluor herzustellen. 1893 entdeckte Moissan in einem… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Henri Moissan — Naissance 28 septembre 1852 Paris (France) Décès 20 février 1907 (à 54 ans) Paris ( …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Moissan —   [mwa sã], Ferdinand Frédéric Henri, französischer Chemiker, * Paris 28. 9. 1852, ✝ ebenda 20. 2. 1907; seit 1900 Professor an der Sorbonne in Paris. Moissan untersuchte besonders Fluorverbindungen und stellte erstmals reines Fluor dar; er… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Henri Moissan — Infobox Scientist name = Henri Moissan image size = 180px birth date = birth date|1852|9|28|mf=y birth place = Paris, France nationality = France death date = death date and age|1907|2|20|1852|9|28 death place = Paris, France field = Chemistry… …   Wikipedia

  • Moissan, Henri — ▪ French chemist in full  Ferdinand Frédéric Henri Moissan  born Sept. 28, 1852, Paris, France died Feb. 20, 1907, Paris  French chemist who received the 1906 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for the isolation of the element fluorine and the development …   Universalium

  • Chemienobelpreis 1906: Henri Moissan —   Der Franzose bekam den Nobelpreis für die Erforschung und Isolation des Elements Fluor und für die Entwicklung des elektrischen Lichtbogenofens.    Biografie   Ferdinand Frédéric Henri Moissan, * Paris 28.9.1852, ✝ Paris 20.2.1907; 1886… …   Universal-Lexikon

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