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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. This is essentially still the way fluorine is produced today.
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.
|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.|