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The Resources and Applications of Manganese

Naturevolume 120pages159161 (1927) | Download Citation



OUR very material and complex civilisation, admittedly only rendered possible by the developments in meta, is indebted to the chemists of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries to an extent not always appreciated for their success in isolating the elements, and particularly the metals. Their efforts were largely sustained by the desire for knowledge, since nfaterial reward in the modern sense could scarcely be contemplated, and, indeed, did not enter into the thoughts of many of these pioneer investigators. The world owes much to the Swedish chemist Gahn, who first successfully isolated the metal manganese in the latter half of the eighteenth century. As regards the application of the element in the metallurgy of steel, the two outstanding names are Mushet and Hadfield. Mushet discovered its value when added in small quantities in the manufacture of ordinary commercial steels; whilst Hadfield produced an alloy of iron and manganese having properties entirely new and unsuspected in the range of ferrous metallurgy. Hadfield's manganese steel led the way in the successful development of alloy steels. This material, when quenched in water from a high temperature, becomes soft and tough, whereas previous steels became hardened by such treatment. By virtue of the discovery of such phenomena, investigators were led into a proper appreciation of the changes taking place in iron and steel with change in temperature. To Sir Robert Hadfield we are indebted for two extremely interesting papers presented at the May meeting of the Iron and Steel Institute: one reviewing the world's resources of manganese; the other containing the results of his latest researches on the iron-manganese-carbon system. It is of value that an investigator who over a long life of continuous research in -a field which he has made peculiarly his own, should review the subject.


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