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Accidental Discovery In The History Of Chemistry!
Aug 19, 2017

In the history of chemistry, many inventions and discoveries are due to accidental factors. Little addendum for you sorted out some interesting findings:


1, Litmus indicator


In the summer of 17th century, a British chemist, Boyle, was hurrying to his laboratory, just entering the laboratory door, with intoxicating smells he realized that the roses in the flower garden had opened, and he had wanted to have a good look at the charming floral scent, but, having thought of the one-day experiment, gingerly took a few roses and inserted them into a flask of water and began experimenting with the assistants. Unfortunately, an assistant accidentally splashed a large drop of hydrochloric acid on the rose, Boyle ear reluctant to throw away the flowers, he decided to use water for the flower rinse. Who knows that when the water falls on the petals, splashed on the part of hydrochloric acid miraculously reddened, Boyle ears immediately sensitive to the rose of a component in the red hydrochloric acid. After repeated experiments, a litmus was born in the form of an indicator extracted from roses, violets and other herbs. In the next more than 300 years, this material has been widely used in all fields of chemistry.


2, the new use of bitter acid


Picric (nitrophenol) is a yellow crystal, bitter taste, soluble in water. 1771 has been able to make it chemically. Since 1849, it has been used as a yellow dye for dyeing silk, the first man-made dye used, and it has been in safe use for more than 30 years in the dye shop. One day in 1871, a new worker in a French dye workshop couldn't open a picric bucket, so he smashed it with a hammer and exploded unexpectedly, and many people were killed on the spot. It was a tragedy, but it also inspired the workshop owner. After repeated experiments, Picric began to be heavily applied to the manufacture of military dynamite.


3, Bordeaux


In the fall of 1882, the French Milad in the vicinity of the city of Bordeaux found everywhere grape trees are affected by germs, only a few rows of vines on both sides of the road is still fruitful, not damaged. He felt strange, and consulted the garden-workers who managed the vines. Originally, the garden workers scattered white lime water and blue copper sulfate to the vines on both sides of the road, leaving them with white and blue marks on the leaves, and passers-by who thought they had sprayed the poison to dispel the idea of eating grapes. Milad was inspired, and after repeated experiments and studies, he finally invented the fungicide--the Bordeaux solution, which was almost effective for all plant pathogens.


4, Nitrocellulose


In 1845, in Basel, a city in northwestern Switzerland, chemists Seinberg at home and accidentally ran into thick sulfuric acid and nitric acid on the table, and he hastily picked up his wife's apron to wipe the mixed acid from the table. After the incident, he hung the apron to the stove dry, but the apron "flutter" to the ground and burned up, and instantly burned completely, which makes Seinber surprised. Seinber returned to the lab with this question, repeating the "accident" that occurred due to the mistake. After many experiments, Seinber finally found the reason. The original cloth apron is the main ingredient is cellulose, it and concentrated sulfuric acid and concentrated nitric acid mixed liquid contact, the formation of cellulose nitrate ester, which contains nitrogen in more than 13% of the known as "Fire cotton", nitrogen content in about 10% is called "Low cotton". The accidental discovery led to the birth of a widely used nitrocellulose.


5. Nitrous oxide and anesthetics


1772 British chemist Plist prepared a gas that was stored in a laboratory and the label on the bottle was O2. David, a young experimenter, took a few bites of the gas and, as a result, he laughed wildly and danced in the lab. Later, "Heart" Davy discovered the composition of the gas and named it "nitrous oxide." Happened, David just pulled out cavities, pain unbearable, and after inhaling nitrous oxide, pain immediately relieved, look happy, he keenly aware of "nitrous oxide" role, then a narcotic was born.

The anesthetic effect of chloroform also results from accidental. In 1847, the British doctor Simpson and his two assistants, were experimenting with the gap chatting, a while later, they spoke gradually a bit less agile, like drunken drunk, and then after a while can not move. When they wake up, Simpson earnestly look for the cause, found that "chloroform" can make people lethargic, so, a new anesthetic was born. Although the chloroform was later found to be harmful to the human body, it has contributed to alleviating the patient's suffering for a considerable period of time.


6. Synthesis of aniline Violet.


In 1856, William Perkins, a 18-year-old student, worked as a research assistant to London chemist August Wilhelm Hofmann to synthesize a malaria-resistant Kinghina, but no one knew Kinghina's structure and made it into a blind cat catch mouse. Once, Perkin added potassium dichromate to aniline sulfate, which was a dark substance, and the experiment failed as usual. When he joined the alcohol to clean the residue of the flask, a beautiful purple was present in front of it, and the Pearl's magical synthesis of aniline violet.

Perkins has since stepped into the manufacturing industry of aniline Violet, triggering countless technological innovations (and greater water pollution). His business also led to the textile industry and printing and dyeing cooperation, after the king awarded the title of jazz.

Similar examples abound. Pollard from the algae to iodine, but accidentally found bromine, Bekele ear due to accidental factors found the radioactivity of matter; Mendeleev used cards to collate Döbereiner's "ternary group" hypothesis without results, but unexpectedly discovered "the law of Elemental Cycle", and kekule because of "dream" and creatively invented the structure of benzene, since then opened up a new world of organic structure.