Investigation of Thomas Graham

Topics: Gas / Pages: 2 (424 words) / Published: Mar 26th, 2014
Investigation # 1 “The fascinating life of Thomas Graham”

Thomas Graham made his own path by studying to be a chemist; instead of becoming a minister in the Church of Scotland like his father wanted.

Graham became a student at the University of Glasgow in 1819 at the age of 14. After receiving his M.A., he became a professor of chemistry at numerous colleges, including the Royal College of Science and Technology and the University of London.

In 1841, he helped founding the Chemical Society of London, becoming its first president. In 1866, he was elected a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

His final position was as the Master of the Mint, where he stayed for 15 years until his death. He was the last person to hold that position.

Graham received several awards including the Royal Medal of the Royal Society twice (1837 and 1863), the Copley Medal of the Royal Society (1862), and the Prix Jecker of the Paris Academy of Sciences (1862).
Graham's first experiment with gases dealt with the diffusion of different gases into the atmosphere resulting on what is now called "Graham's Law", which states that the rate of effusion of a gas is inversely proportional to the square root of its molar mass.
Graham was also the first to observe that palladium metal is able to absorb large amounts of hydrogen gas, especially at lower temperatures. He also observed that when the palladium with hydrogen dissolved in it is exposed to the atmosphere, then the metal is likely to become hot and suddenly discharge the gas.
Graham found that colloids could be purified by placing them in a porous container and running water over them and through the container or membrane. Any crystalloid impurities were dissolved and passed through the barrier, leaving behind the pure colloid. This process was named dialysis.

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