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Studies of the Rarer Elements

    Naturevolume 135page991 (1935) | Download Citation



    IN his address as retiring president to the Chemical Society given on March 28 and entitled “Recent Researches on Certain of the Rarer Elements” (J. Chem. Soc., p. 554, April 1935), Prof. G. T. Morgan outlined some of the most important advances which have been made in recent years in the study of the rarer elements. The British Empire is endowed with mineral resources to an extent unsurpassed by those of any other nation. It is obviously the duty of British chemists to undertake the systematic investigation of the rarer elements of the Empire, for it is certain that results of inestimable value will be forthcoming. Prof. Morgan is himself an outstanding leader in this kind of work and the results which he and his colleagues have accumulated form the main topic of the address. The extraction of germanium and gallium from Northumberland coal-ash has been started by Dr. G. R. Davies. Certain seams of Northumbrian coal give an ash containing up to 1 per cent of germanium and 0-05 per cent of gallium. The germanium is distilled out with acid as tetrachloride, whilst gallium trichloride remains in the still. A diagram of the apparatus is given. Rhenium has been extracted from Australian molybdenite by a lengthy process involving fractional volatilisation and ultimate separation with organic reagents such as 8-hydroxy-quinoline and dipyridyl. The address concludes with some notes on the co-ordination compounds of ruthenium, amongst which is an ammine which dyes natural silk in red shades but is extremely difficult to isolate in a state of purity.

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