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Henri Moissan

Henri Moissan

Ferdinand Frederick Henri Moissan
BornSeptember 28 1852(1852-09-28)
Paris, France
DiedFebruary 20 1907 (aged 54)
Paris, France
Residence France
Nationality France
Alma materCollège de Meaux
École Pratique des Haute Études
Academic advisor  Pierre Paul Dehérain
Known forIsolation of fluorine
Notable prizes Nobel Prize for Chemistry (1906)

Ferdinand Frederick Henri Moissan (September 28, 1852 – February 20, 1907) was a French chemist who won the 1906 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work in isolating fluorine from its compounds.


Preparation of fluorine

Fluorine's existence had been well known for many years, but all attempts to prepare it had failed – and some experimenters had died in the attempt.

Moissan eventually succeeded in preparation by electrolyzing a solution of potassium hydrogen fluoride (KHF2) in liquid hydrogen fluoride (HF). The mixture was needed because hydrogen fluoride is a non-conductor. The device was built with platinum/iridium electrodes in a platinum holder and cooled the apparatus to −50 °C. The result was to completely isolate the hydrogen produced from the negative electrode from the fluorine produced at the positive one.[1][2] This is essentially still the way fluorine is produced today.

Further studies

Moissan went on to study fluorine chemistry in great detail, contributed to the development of the electric arc furnace and attempted to use pressure to synthesize diamonds from the more common form of carbon. In 1893, Moissan began studying fragments of a meteorite found in Meteor Crater near Diablo Canyon in Arizona. In these fragments he discovered minute quantities of a new mineral and, after extensive research, Moissan concluded that this mineral was made of silicon carbide. In 1905, this mineral was named Moissanite, in his honor.


He died suddenly in Paris in February 1907, shortly after his return from receiving the Nobel Prize in Stockholm. His death was attributed to an acute appendicitis. It is not known whether his experiments with fluorine contributed to his early death.

See also


  1. ^ H. Moissan (1886). "Action d'un courant électrique sur l'acide fluorhydrique anhydre". Comptes rendus hebdomadaires des séances de l'Académie des sciences 102: 1543-1544.
  2. ^ H. Moissan (1886). "Sur la décomposition de l'acide fluorhydrique par un courant électrique". Comptes rendus hebdomadaires des séances de l'Académie des sciences 103: 202.
  • A.G. Morachevskii (2002). "Henri Moissan (To 150th Anniversary of His Birthday)". Journal Russian Journal of Applied Chemistry 75 (10): 1720-1722. doi:10.1023/A:1022268927198.
  • G. V. Samsonov, V. A. Obolonchik (1886). "Frederic Henri Moissan, on the 120th anniversary of his birth". Journal Powder Metallurgy and Metal Ceramics 11 (9): 766-768. doi:10.1007/BF00801283.
  • Flahaut J. (1999). "The scientific contributions of Moissan". Ann Pharm Fr. 57 (2): 101-7.
  • La Vie et les travaux de Henri Moissan written by Paul Lebau in 1931

NAME Moissan, Henri
ALTERNATIVE NAMES Moissan, Ferdinand Frederick Henri
DATE OF BIRTH September 28, 1852
PLACE OF BIRTH Paris, France
DATE OF DEATH February 20, 1907
PLACE OF DEATH Paris, France
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Henri_Moissan". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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