Abel, Sir Frederick August

Abel, Sir Frederick August
b. 17 July 1827 Woolwich, London, England
d. 6 September 1902 Westminster, London, England
English chemist, co-inventor of cordite find explosives expert.
His family came from Germany and he was the son of a music master. He first became interested in science at the age of 14, when visiting his mineralogist uncle in Hamburg, and studied chemistry at the Royal Polytechnic Institution in London. In 1845 he became one of the twenty-six founding students, under A.W.von Hofmann, of the Royal College of Chemistry. Such was his aptitude for the subject that within two years he became von Hermann's assistant and demonstrator. In 1851 Abel was appointed Lecturer in Chemistry, succeeding Michael Faraday, at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, and it was while there that he wrote his Handbook of Chemistry, which was co-authored by his assistant, Charles Bloxam.
Abel's four years at the Royal Military Academy served to foster his interest in explosives, but it was during his thirty-four years, beginning in 1854, as Ordnance Chemist at the Royal Arsenal and at Woolwich that he consolidated and developed his reputation as one of the international leaders in his field. In 1860 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, but it was his studies during the 1870s into the chemical changes that occur during explosions, and which were the subject of numerous papers, that formed the backbone of his work. It was he who established the means of storing gun-cotton without the danger of spontaneous explosion, but he also developed devices (the Abel Open Test and Close Test) for measuring the flashpoint of petroleum. He also became interested in metal alloys, carrying out much useful work on their composition. A further avenue of research occurred in 1881 when he was appointed a member of the Royal Commission set up to investigate safety in mines after the explosion that year in the Sealham Colliery. His resultant study on dangerous dusts did much to further understanding on the use of explosives underground and to improve the safety record of the coal-mining industry. The achievement for which he is most remembered, however, came in 1889, when, in conjunction with Sir James Dewar, he invented cordite. This stable explosive, made of wood fibre, nitric acid and glycerine, had the vital advantage of being a "smokeless powder", which meant that, unlike the traditional ammunition propellant, gunpowder ("black powder"), the firer's position was not given away when the weapon was discharged. Although much of the preliminary work had been done by the Frenchman Paul Vieille, it was Abel who perfected it, with the result that cordite quickly became the British Army's standard explosive.
Abel married, and was widowed, twice. He had no children, but died heaped in both scientific honours and those from a grateful country.
Principal Honours and Distinctions
Grand Commander of the Royal Victorian Order 1901. Knight Commander of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath 1891 (Commander 1877). Knighted 1883. Created Baronet 1893. FRS 1860. President, Chemical Society 1875–7. President, Institute of Chemistry 1881–2. President, Institute of Electrical Engineers 1883. President, Iron and Steel Institute 1891. Chairman, Society of Arts 1883–4. Telford Medal 1878, Royal Society Royal Medal 1887, Albert Medal (Society of Arts) 1891, Bessemer Gold Medal 1897. Hon. DCL (Oxon.) 1883, Hon. DSc (Cantab.) 1888.
1854, with C.L.Bloxam, Handbook of Chemistry: Theoretical, Practical and Technical, London: John Churchill; 2nd edn 1858.
Besides writing numerous scientific papers, he also contributed several articles to The Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1875–89, 9th edn.
Further Reading
Dictionary of National Biography, 1912, Vol. 1, Suppl. 2, London: Smith, Elder.

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

Игры ⚽ Поможем написать курсовую

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Abel , Sir Frederick Augustus — (1827–1902) British chemist Abel was born in London, the son of a well known musician and the grandson of a court painter to the grand duke of Mecklenberg Schwerin. Despite this artistic background, Abel developed an early interest in science… …   Scientists

  • Frederick Augustus Abel — Sir Frederick Augustus Abel Sir Frederick Augustus Abel, Bart (* 17. Juli 1827 in Woolwich, Großbritannien; † 6. September 1902 in London) war ein englischer Chemiker …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Frederick Abel — Infobox Scientist name = Sir Frederick Abel, Bt box width = image width =250px caption = Frederick Abel birth date = 17 July 1827 birth place = London death date = 6 September 1902 death place = residence = citizenship = nationality = English… …   Wikipedia

  • August Wilhelm von Hofmann — Foto nach dem Gemälde von …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Abel (homonymie) — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Sur les autres projets Wikimedia : « Abel (homonymie) », sur le Wiktionnaire (dictionnaire universel) Abel est un nom propre qui peut… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • August 5 — Events*642 Battle of Maserfield Penda of Mercia defeats and kills Oswald of Bernicia. *910 The last major Viking army to raid England is defeated at the Battle of Tettenhall by the allied forces of Mercia and Wessex, led by King Edward and Earl… …   Wikipedia

  • Charles Denton Abel — was born in London in 1831, the grandson of August Christian Andreas Abel, who was court miniature painter to the Grand Duke of Mecklenburgh Schwerin.[1] and the younger brother of the chemist and explosives expert, Sir Frederick Abel, Chairman… …   Wikipedia

  • 5. August — Der 5. August ist der 217. Tag des Gregorianischen Kalenders (der 218. in Schaltjahren), somit bleiben noch 148 Tage bis zum Jahresende. Historische Jahrestage Juli · August · September 1 2 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Liste der Erfinder — Dies ist eine Liste von Erfindern, die die Welt mit ihren Erfindungen bereichert haben. Ein Erfinder ist jemand, der ein Problem erkannt hat, es gelöst und mindestens einmal damit Erfolg gehabt hat. Er muss nicht der erste gewesen sein; eine… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Liste von Erfindern — Dies ist eine Liste von Erfindern, die die Welt mit ihren Erfindungen bereichert haben. Ein Erfinder ist jemand, der ein Problem erkannt hat, es gelöst und mindestens einmal damit Erfolg gehabt hat. Er muss nicht der erste gewesen sein; eine… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Order of Merit — This article is about the Commonwealth realms order. For similarly named orders, see Order of Merit (disambiguation). Order of Merit Insignia of the Order of Merit presented to Dorothy Hodgkin, displayed in the Royal Society in London …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”