Electrolysis cell with samples of cryolite and fluorspar, 1886.

Electrolysis cell with samples of cryolite and fluorspar, 1886.
3 1 c m
40cm
actual image size: 32cm x 23cm

Description

A reproduction of the electrolysis cell with which the chemist Henri Moisan (1852-1907) first isolated the element fluorine in 1886. It is shown together with specimens of cryolite (left) and fluorspar (right) . Although fluorine had been known to exist since the end of the 18th century, it was to be a further 100 years until it was actually isolated. Moisan electrolysed a solution of potasium fluoride (KF) in anhydrous hydrofluoric acid (HF) (whose raw material is fluorspar), using a cell made from platinum. Cryolite is a rare mineral which contains fluoride. The supplies from Greenland, where the only known reserves of it were found, are now exhausted and it is made synthetically.

Image Details

Image Ref.
 
10277387

© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library

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