Mond, Ludwig

Mond, Ludwig
SUBJECT AREA: Chemical technology
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b. 7 March 1839 Cassel, Germany
d. 11 December 1909 London, England
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German (naturalized English) industrial chemist.
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Born into a prosperous Jewish merchant family, Mond studied at the Polytechnic in Cassel and then under the distinguished chemists Hermann Kolbe at Marburg and Bunsen at Heidelberg from 1856. In 1859 he began work as an industrial chemist in various works in Germany and Holland. At this time, Mond was pursuing his method for recovering sulphur from the alkali wastes in the Leblanc soda-making process. Mond came to England in 1862 and five years later settled permanently, in partnership with John Hutchinson \& Co. at Widnes, to perfect his process, although complete success eluded him. He became a naturalized British subject in 1880.
In 1872 Mond became acquainted with Ernest Solvay, the Belgian chemist who developed the ammonia-soda process which finally supplanted the Leblanc process. Mond negotiated the English patent rights and set up the first ammoniasoda plant in England at Winnington in Cheshire, in partnership with John Brunner. After overcoming many difficulties by incessant hard work, the process became a financial success and in 1881 Brunner, Mond \& Co. was formed, for a time the largest alkali works in the world. In 1926 the company merged with others to form Imperial Chemical Industries Ltd (ICI). The firm was one of the first to adopt the eight-hour day and to provide model dwellings and playing fields for its employees.
From 1879 Mond took up the production of ammonia and this led to the Mond producer-gas plant, patented in 1883. The process consisted of passing air and steam over coal and coke at a carefully regulated temperature. Ammonia was generated and, at the same time, so was a cheap and useful producer gas. Mond's major discovery followed the observation in 1889 that carbon monoxide could combine with nickel in its ore at around 60°C to form a gaseous compound, nickel carbonyl. This, on heating to a higher temperature, would then decompose to give pure nickel. Mond followed up this unusual way of producing and purifying a metal and by 1892 had succeeded in setting up a pilot plant to perfect a large-scale process and went on to form the Mond Nickel Company.
Apart from being a successful industrialist, Mond was prominent in scientific circles and played a leading role in the setting up of the Society of Chemical Industry in 1881. The success of his operations earned him great wealth, much of which he donated for learned and charitable purposes. He formed a notable collection of pictures which he bequeathed to the National Gallery.
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Principal Honours and Distinctions
FRS 1891.
Bibliography
1885, "On the origin of the ammonia-soda process", Journal of the Society of Chemical Industry 4:527–9.
1895. "The history of the process of nickel extraction", Journal of the Society of Chemical Industry 14:945–6.
Further Reading
J.M.Cohen, 1956, The Life of Ludwig Mond, London: Methuen. Obituary, 1918, Journal of the Chemical Society 113:318–34.
F.C.Donnan, 1939, Ludwig Mond 1839–1909, London (a valuable lecture).
LRD

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

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  • Mond, Ludwig — born March 7, 1839, Kassel, Hesse Kassel died Dec. 11, 1909, London, Eng. German British chemist and industrialist. After immigrating to England in 1862, he improved the Solvay process for making sodium carbonate (soda ash) and developed a… …   Universalium

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