Download 100-octane: The story behind the fuel by Peter Varey PDF

By Peter Varey

A Pole, a Russian and an Frenchman have been the major members to 100-octane fuel. this can be the gasoline which powered the new high-compression engines of US fighter aircraft from 1937 and later the Merlin engines which helped the RAF's Spitfires and Hurricanes continue to exist the conflict of england in 1940. All 3 males labored within the usa within the Nineteen Thirties and their rules got here jointly to supply 100-octane gasoline.

Herman Pines, newly arrived from Poland through Lyon, France, came upon work flat out to come back by means of till he joined Universal Oil items in Chicago in 1930 as a short lived laboratory assistant, He made a key remark quickly afterwards. skilled Russian chemist Vladimir Ipatieff joined him, and the 2 labored on formerly unknown alterations of petroleum to create very excessive octane (and very expensive) "alkylates". They confronted own in addition to technical demanding situations. Ipatieff was once chased via Stalin's brokers to come back to the Soviet Union; Pines may possibly in basic terms watch, helpless, as his relatives in Poland became trapped in ghettos and have been exterminated by means of the Nazis.

Houdry's demanding situations have been technical and fiscal. In France he had discovered a new approach which produced, utilizing a catatyst, a gas of 80-octane in a unmarried step from petroleum. This used to be perfect for topping as much as 100-octane with Ipatieff and Pines's alkylates. searching for a backer to supply his development charges, Houdry found one within the usa. With arrangements for warfare, the money for either Houdry's gasoline and Ipatieff and Pines' alkylates grew to become extra on hand and economies of scale observed costs drop. By 1940 the British executive had persuaded the americans to provide the RAF with 100-octane gasoline and for that reason Hurricanes and Spitfires have been in a position to hold off a technically-superior foe. Today the work of those 3 males nonetheless kinds the foundation of high-octane gas at high-street pumps.

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