Henri Moissan

  • Year:

    1898

  • Subject:

    Engineering

  • Award:

    Cresson

  • Citation:

    For investigations with electric furnace.

Henri Moissan was born in 1852 in Paris, France. After attending the Museum of Natural History and the School of Pharmacy in Paris, Moissan became professor of toxicology in 1886 and of inorganic chemistry in 1889 at the School of Pharmacy and professor of inorganic chemistry in 1900 at the Sorbonne. He took up the study of fluorine compounds in 1884. Two years later, by electrolyzing a solution of potassium fluoride in hydrofluoric acid, he prepared the highly reactive gas fluorine. He made a full study of the properties of the element and its reactions with other elements.

In 1892, Moissan developed the electric arc furnace and used it to prepare numerous new compounds and to vaporize substances previously regarded as infusible. He devised a commercially profitable method of producing acetylene. Although he claimed to have synthesized diamonds in his furnace in 1893, his success is now in doubt.

Information as of 1898