Item #822 Étude du Bore Amorphe in Annales de Chimie et de Physique, Vol. 6, 1895, pp. 296-320. Henri Moissan.

Étude du Bore Amorphe in Annales de Chimie et de Physique, Vol. 6, 1895, pp. 296-320

Paris: G. Masson, 1895. 1st Edition. FIRST EDITION OF MOISSAN’S EXPERIMENT OBTAINING THE PUREST FORM OF BORON TO DATE. Henry Moissan (1852-1907) was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry (1906) "in recognition of the great services rendered by him in his investigation and isolation of the lement fluorine, and the adoption in the service of science of the electric furnace called after him" (Nobel Prize Committee).

Boron is not found in its elemental state in nature, and “is arguably the most complex element in the Periodic Table”, with no others registering as much diversity in its chemistry (Orlovskaya, Boron Rich Solids, 208). “One of the main reasons for this is that boron shows a great tendency to form bonds to other boron atoms that results in complex cages and clusters. Because boron has three valence electrons, there is frequently formation of bonds that are more complex than the usual shared pair of electrons between two atoms” (House, Descriptive Inorganic Chemistry, 139). For this reason, boron studies are full of disputes, with mistakes made even by great scientists” (Orlovskaya, 208).

The chemists Gay-Lussac, Humphry Davy, and Thenard all thought they had obtained boron – and in fact each did, but only in highly impure forms. In this paper, Henri Moissan begins by methodically laying out why, in fact, each of the chemists had not ‘discovered’ boron as each proclaimed; Moissan making the case that none had actually reduced boron to as pure element as they thought.

Moissan then describes his own experiment. He “prepared the element by reduction of B2O3 with magnesium in a thermite-type reaction” – a method still used today for obtaining large quantities of impure boron (ibid). While Moissan’s method left magnesium and oxides of boron as impurities, its purity ranged from 80-95%, and Moissan’s efforts were close enough for the scientific community to credit him with first obtaining it. Item #822

CONDITION & DETAILS: Paris: G. Masson. 8vo. (8.25 x 5.5 inches; 206 x 138mm). [4], 576, [2]. Handsomely rebound in half-calf over marbled paper boards, gently scuffed at the edges for an ‘aged’ effect by the conservator; 4 gilt-ruled and tooled bands at the spine; gilt-lettered black morocco spine label. New endpapers. Bright and very clean throughout. Near fine condition.

Price: $110.00

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