Van Nostrand's Encyclopedia of Chemistry / Edition 5

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Scientists, engineers, and technologists in many fields need a knowledge of chemistry because of the importance of chemistry in diverse technologies. In addition, to "classical" topics of chemistry, the new Encyclopedia covers nanotechnology, fuel cell technology, green chemistry, forensic chemistry, supramolecular chemistry, combinatorial chemistry, materials chemistry, and proteomics.

This fifth print edition has been revised and updated, and includes over 200 new articles, as well as 1,300 updated articles.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A very comprehensive and thorough quick reference for questions in basic chemistry, the industrial manufacturing process, and medical applications of chemistry…" (American Journal of Therapeutics, January/February 2006)

"Any good chemistry collection should have [it]….this work is strongly recommended." (American Reference Books Annual, 2006)

"...remains an essential reference for academic and large public library science collections." (Library Journal, November 2005)

"The latest edition of this well-known, concise, comprehensive, and accessible general chemistry reference work continues its tradition of excellence maintained through almost half a century." (The Chemical Educator, May/June 2005)

" awesome compilation of chemistry related topics that is well written and easy to appreciable source for background reading and chemistry review…" (American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, Volume 69, Issue 4, 2005)

"This...popular, standard and critically acclaimed desktop reference source...belongs in personal, institutional, academic, professional and industrial libraries." (The Chemical Educator, Vol. 10, No. 3. 2005)

"...a valuable reference work, concise in its one-volume approach to coverage of chemical topics." (E-STREAMS, August 2005)

"...truly a useful reference-good for both the newcomer and the experienced." (Journal of the American Chemical Society, August 10, 2005)

"More detailed than some rivals...a good choice for libraries supporting a chemistry program...built-in references and an excellent index make 'Van Nostrand' easy to use." (CHOICE, July 2005)

"...remains an essential resource for both students and practitioners...provides much information in a condensed manner." (Energy Sources, June 2005)

"…this volume will prove vital to both the student and the practicing research chemistry…[and] essential to a diverse community of specialists, including medical scientists, engineers and industrial researchers." (Electric Review, April/May 2005)

Library Journal
This new edition of a long-standing staple of science reference collections doubles the number of entries of its 1984 predecessor, though it still appears in a single volume. Taking a broad view of chemistry as the central science, the 2750 entries also cover related areas in physics, engineering, geology, biology, and agriculture and address such emerging disciplines as green chemistry, supramolecular chemistry, and nanotechnology. More than 1350 are entirely new, including the useful addition of short biographical entries whose subjects include all winners of the Nobel prize for chemistry; many other entries have been significantly updated or rewritten. Bibliographies, typically found in entries of over a column in length, comprise mostly monographs dating from the late 1990s to the present, with a few entries listing web sites as well. The illustrations are largely confined to chemical structures and line drawings (employed to good use in explaining industrial processes, for example); the few photographs are in black and white. Entries are written progressively, so that the farther into an entry one reads, the more detailed and technical the explanation becomes. The reading level, though understandable to a high school student in the shorter entries, quickly escalates in many entries, making the cross references and indexes essential for complete understanding. The work is largely self-contained (despite the multiple contributors) so many perplexing technical terms will be further defined in their own entries, though this is truer for topics most directly related to traditional chemical topics. Bottom Line While recent one-volume chemistry encyclopedias like Robyn Young's World of Science and Don Rittner and Ronald A. Bailey's Encyclopedia of Chemistry are geared toward high school students, Van Nostrand's remains an essential reference for academic and large public library science collections.-Wade M. Lee, Univ. of Toledo Lib. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471615255
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 1/14/2005
  • Edition number: 5
  • Pages: 1856
  • Product dimensions: 8.68 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 2.13 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Van Nostrand's Encyclopedia of Chemistry

By Glenn D. Considine

John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 0-471-61525-0

Chapter One


AAAS. The American Association for the Advancement of Science was founded in 1848 and incorporated in 1874. Its objectives are to further the work of scientists, to facilitate cooperation among them, to foster scientific freedom and responsibility, to improve the effectiveness of science in promoting human welfare, to advance education in science, and to increase public understanding and appreciation for the importance and promise of the methods of science in human progress. The AAAS head quarters is in Washington, DC.

ABACA. The sclerenchyma bundles from the sheathing leaf bases of Musa textilis, a plant closely resembling the edible banana plant. These bundles are stripped by hand, after which they are cleaned by drawing over a rough knife. The fiber bundles are now whitish and lustrous, and from six to twelve feet (1.8-3.6 meters) long. Being coarse, extremely strong and capable of resisting tension, they are much used in the manufacture of ropes and cables. Since the fibers swell only slightly when wet, they are particularly suited for rope that will be used in water. Waste manila fibers from rope manufacture and other sources are used in the making of a very tough grade of paper, known as manilla paper. The fibers may be obtained from both wild and cultivated plants, the latter yielding a product of better grade. The cultivated plants, propagated by seeds, by cuttings of the thick rhizomes or by suckers, are ready for harvest at the end of three years, after which a crop may be expected approximately every three years.

ABHERENT. Any substance that prevents adhesion of a material to itself or to another material. It may be in the form of a dry powder (a silicate such as talc, mica, or diatomaceous earth); a suspension (bentonitewater); a solution (soap-water); or a soft solid (stearic acid, tallow waxes). Abherents are used as dusting agents and mold washes in the adhesives, rubber, and plastics industries. Fats and oils are used as abherents in the baking industry. Fluorocarbon resin coatings on metals are widely used on cooking utensils.

ABLATING MATERIAL. A material, especially a coating material, designed to provide thermal protection to a body in a fluid stream through loss of mass. Ablating materials are used on the surfaces of some reentry vehicles to absorb heat by removal of mass, thus blocking the transfer of heat to the rest of the vehicle and maintaining temperatures within design limits. Ablating materials absorb heat by increasing in temperature and changing in chemical or physical state. The heat is carried away from the surface by a loss of mass (liquid or vapor). The departing mass also blocks part of the convective heat transfer to the remaining material in the same manner as transpiration cooling.

(1) Fibers made from white silica, fused in an oven, cut into blocks, and coated with borosilicate glass; these are extremely efficient at temperatures up to 2300F. (2) An all-carbon composite (called reinforced carbon-carbon) make by laminating and curing layers of graphite fiber previously coated with a resin, which is pyrolized to carbon. The resulting tile is then treated with a mixture of alumina, silicon, and silicon carbide. Such composites are used for maximum-temperature (nose cone) exposure up to 3000F. Both types are undamaged by the heat and are reusable. The tiles are adhered to the body of the spacecraft with a silicone adhesive. Ablative materials used on early spaceship trials were fluorocarbon polymers and glass-reinforced plastics, but these were wholly or partially decomposed during reentry.

ABLATION. The removal of surface material from a body by vaporization, melting, chipping, or other erosive process; specifically, the intentional removal of material from a nose cone or spacecraft during high-speed movement through a planetary atmosphere to provide thermal protection to the underlying structure. See also Ablating Material.

ABRASION. All metallic and nonmetallic surfaces, no matter how smooth, consist of minute serrations and ridges that induce a cutting or tearing action when two surfaces in contact move with respect to each other. This wearing of the surfaces is termed abrasion. Undesirable abrasion may occur in bearings and other machine elements, but abrasion is also adapted to surface finishing and machining, where the material is too hard to be cut by other means, or where precision is a primary requisite.

Temperature is a significant factor: friction may raise the temperature of the surface layers to the point where they become subject to chemical attack. Abrasion causes deterioration of many materials, especially of rubber (tire treads), where it can be offset by a high percentage of carbon black. Other materials subjected to abrasion in their service life are textiles (laundering), leather and plastics (shoe soles, belting), and house paints and automobile lacquers (airborne dust, grit, etc.).

See also Abrasives.

ABRASION pH. A term originated by Stevens and Carron in 1948 "to designate the pH values obtained by grinding minerals in water." Abrasion pH measurements are useful in the field identification of minerals. The pH values range from 1 for ferric sulfate minerals, such as coquimbite, konelite, and rhomboclase, to 12 for calcium-sodium carbonates, such as gaylussite, pirssonite, and shortite. The recommended technique for determining abrasion pH is to grind, in a nonreactive mortar, a small amount of the mineral in a few drops of water for about one minute. Usually, a pH test paper is used. Values obtained in this manner are given in the middle column of Table 1. Another method, proposed by Keller et al. in 1963, involves the grinding of 10 grams of crushed mineral in 100 milliliters of water and noting the pH of the resulting slurry electronically. Values obtained in this manner are given in the right-hand column.

Additional Reading

Keller, W.D., W.D. Balgord, and A.L. Reesman: "Dissolved Products of Artificially Pulverized Silicate Minerals and Rocks," Jrnl. Sediment. Petrol., 33(1), 191-204 (1963).

ABRASIVES. An abrasive is a substance used to abrade, smooth, or polish an object. If the object is soft, such as wood, then relatively soft abrasive materials may be used. Usually, however, abrasive connotes very hard substances ranging from naturally occurring sands to the hardest material known, diamond.

There are three basic forms of abrasives: grit (loose, granular, or powdered particles); bonded materials (particles are bonded into wheels, segments, or stick shapes); and coated materials (particles are bonded to paper, plastic, cloth, or metal).

Properties of Abrasive Materials

Hardness. Table 1 lists the various scales of hardness used for abrasives.

Toughness. An abrasive's toughness is often measured and expressed as the degree of friability, the ability of an abrasive grit to withstand impact without cracking, spalling, or shattering.

Refractoriness (Melting Temperature). Instantaneous grinding temperatures may exceed 3500°C at the interface between an abrasive and the workpiece being ground. Hence melting temperature is an important property.

Chemical Reactivity. Any chemical interaction between abrasive grains and the material being abraded affects the abrasion process.

Thermal Conductivity. Abrasive materials may transfer heat from the cutting tip of the grain to the bond posts, retaining the heat in a bonded wheel or coated belt. The cooler the cutting point, the harder it is.

Fracture. Fracture characteristics of abrasive materials are important, as well as the resulting grain shapes. Equiaxed grains are generally preferred for bonded abrasive products and sharp, acicular grains are preferred for coated ones. How the grains fracture in the grinding process determines the wear resistance and self-sharpening characteristics of the wheel or belt.

Microstructure. Crystal size, porosity, and impurity phases play a major role in fixing the fracture characteristics and toughness of an abrasive grain.

Natural Abrasives

Naturally occurring abrasives are still an important item of commerce, although synthetic abrasives now fill many of their former uses. They include diamonds, corundum, emery, garnet, silica, sandstone, tripoli, pumice, and pumicite.

Manufactured Abrasives

Manufactured abrasives include silicon carbide, fused aluminum oxide, sintered aluminum oxide, sol-gel sintered aluminum oxide, fused zirconia-alumina, synthetic diamond, cubic boron nitride, boron carbide, slags, steel shot, and grit.

Sizing, Shaping, and Testing of Abrasive Grains

Sizing. Manufactured abrasives are produced in a variety of sizes that range from a pea-sized grit of 4 (5.2 mm) to submicrometer diameters.

Shaping. Desired shapes are obtained by controlling the method of crushing and by impacting or mulling. In general, cubical particles are preferred for grinding wheels, whereas high aspect-ratio acicular particles are preferred for coated abrasive belts and disks.

Testing. Chemical analyses are done on all manufactured abrasives, as well as physical tests such as sieve analyses, specific gravity, impact strength, and loose poured density (a rough measure of particle shape). Special abrasives such as sintered sol-gel aluminas require more sophisticated tests such as electron microscope measurement of [alpha]-alumina crystal size, and indentation microhardness.

Coated Abrasives

Coated abrasives consist of a flexible backing on which films of adhesive hold a coating of abrasive grains. The backing may be paper, cloth, openmesh cloth, vulcanized fiber (a specially treated cotton rag base paper), or any combination of these materials. The abrasives most generally used are fused aluminum oxide, sol-gel alumina, alumina-zirconia, silicon carbide, garnet, emery, and flint.

A new form of coated abrasive has been developed that consists of tiny aggregates of abrasive material in the form of hollow spheres. As these spheres break down in use, fresh cutting grains are exposed; this maintains cut-rate and keeps power low.

Bonded Abrasives

Grinding wheels are by far the most important bonded abrasive product both in production volume and utility. They are produced in grit sizes ranging from 4, for steel mill snagging wheels, to 1200, for polishing the surface of rotogravure rolls.

Marking System. Grinding wheels and other bonded abrasive products are specified by a standard marking system which is used throughout most of the world. This system allows the user to recognize the type of abrasive, the size and shaping of the abrasive grit, and the relative amount and type of bonding material.

Bond Type. Most bonded abrasive products are produced with either a vitreous (glass or ceramic) or a resinoid (usually phenolic resin) bond.

Special Forms of Bonded Abrasives. Special forms of bonded abrasives include honing and superfinishing stones, pulpstone wheels, crush-form grinding wheels, and creep feed wheels.

Superabrasive Wheels

Superabrasive wheels include diamond wheels and cubic boron nitride (CBN) wheels.

Grinding Fluids

Grinding fluids or coolants are fluids employed in grinding to cool the work being ground, to act as a lubricant, and to act as a grinding aid. Soluble oil coolants in which petroleum oils are emulsified in water have been developed to impart some lubricity along with rust-preventive properties.

Loose Abrasives

In addition to their use in bonded and coated products, both natural and manufactured abrasive grains are used loose in such operations as polishing, buffing, lapping, pressure blasting, and barrel finishing.

Jet Cutting

High pressure jet cutting with abrasive grit can be used on metals to produce burn-free cuts with no thermal or mechanical distortion.

Health and Safety

Except for silica and natural abrasives containing free silica, the abrasive materials used today are classified by NIOSH as nuisance dust materials and have relatively high permissible dust levels.

Charles V. Rue Norton Company

Additional Reading

Arpe, H.-J.: Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry, Abrasives to Aluminum Oxide, Vol. 1, 5th Edition, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York, NY, 1997.

Coes, L. Jr., Abrasives, Springer-Verlag, New York, NY, Vienna, 1971.

Ishikawa, T. 1986 Proceedings of the 24th Abrasive Engineering Society Conference, Abrasive Engineering Society, Pittsburgh, PA, 1986, pp. 32-51.

Shaw, M.C.: Principles of Abrasive Processing, Oxford University Press, New York, NY, 1996.

Sluhan, C.A. Lub. Eng., 352-374 (Oct. 1970).

ABSOLUTE 1. Pertaining to a measurement relative to a universal constant or natural datum, as absolute coordinate system, absolute altitude, absolute temperature. See also Absolute Temperature. 2. Complete, as in absolute vacuum.

ABSOLUTE TEMPERATURE. The fundamental temperature scale used in theoretical physics and chemistry, and in certain engineering calculations such as the change in volume of a gas with temperature. Absolute temperatures are expressed either in degrees Kelvin or in degrees Rankine, corresponding respectively to the centigrade and Fahrenheit scales. Temperatures in Kelvins are obtained by adding 273 to the centigrade temperature (if above °C) or subtracting the centigrade temperature from 273 (if below °C). Degrees Rankine are obtained by subtracting 460 from the Fahrenheit temperature.

ABSOLUTE ZERO. Conceptually that temperature where there is no molecular motion, no heat. On the Celsius scale, absolute zero is -273.15°C, on the Fahrenheit scale, -459.67°F; and zero Kelvin (0 K). The concept of absolute zero stems from thermodynamic postulations.

Heat and temperature were poorly understood prior to Carnot's analysis of heat engines in 1824. The Carnot cycle became the conceptual foundation for the definition of temperature. This led to the somewhat later work of Lord Kelvin, who proposed the Kelvin scale based upon a consideration of the second law of thermodynamics. This leads to a temperature at which all the thermal motion of the atoms stops. By using this as the zero point or absolute zero and another reference point to determine the size of the degrees, a scale can be defined. The Comit'e Consultative of the International Committee of Weights and Measures selected 273.16 K as the value for the triple point for water. This set the ice-point at 273.15 K.

From the standpoint of thermodynamics, the thermal efficiency E of an engine is equal to the work W derived from the engine divided by the heat supplied to the engine, Q2. If Q1 is the heat exhausted from the engine,

E = (W/Q2) = (Q2 - Q1)/Q2 = 1 - (Q1/Q2)

where W, Q1, and Q2 are all in the same units. A Carnot engine is a theoretical one in which all the heat is supplied at a single high temperature and the heat output is rejected at a single temperature. The cycle consists of two adiabatics and two isothermals. Here the ratio Q1/Q2 must depend only on the two temperatures and on nothing else. The Kelvin temperatures are then defined by the relation where Q1/Q2 is the ratio of the heats rejected and absorbed, and T1/T2 is the ratio of the Kelvin temperatures of the reservoir and the source. If one starts with a given size for the degree, then the equation completely defines a thermodynamic temperature scale.

Q1/Q2 = T1/T2


Excerpted from Van Nostrand's Encyclopedia of Chemistry by Glenn D. Considine Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Additives (Foods).



Amino Acids.

Analysis (Chemical).





Biographical Articles Dealing with Prominent Chemists.

Biomass and Wastes as Energy Sources.






Catalytic Converter.



Chemical Elements.

Chemotherapeutic Drugs (Cancer).












Fuel Cells.

Genetic Code.


Immune System and Immunochemistry.


Insulation (Thermal).

Iron Metals, Alloys, and Steels.


Natural Gas.


Nuclear Reactor.

Ocean Minerals.

Optical Fibers.

Organic Chemistry.

Papermaking and Finishing.


Photochemistry and Photolysis.

Pollution (Air).




Reverse Osmosis.

Rocket Propellants.

Rubber (Natural).



Soil Chemistry.




Surface Chemistry.




Wastes and Water Pollution.

Yeasts and Molds.

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