Dow Dedicates Laboratory to E. C. Britton

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<ul><li><p>THE CHEMICAL WORLD THIS WEEK </p><p>If critical materials, manpower, and research facilities were available, this group feels that such reactors could be operating in five to six years. </p><p>In a heavy water type plant, 4 0 % of t h e cost would b e for D a O, 2 0 % for the reactor, and the balance for the other units making up a conventional steam turbo-generator plant. The reactor in this case would consist of a steel sphere containing uranium fuel in tubes. A helium blanket system is used in the reactor sphere. </p><p>The gas-cooled reactor consists of a 44-foot spherical steel shell surrounded by concrete. The reactor contains graphite cylinders in which uranium slugs are sup-ported. The coolant gas is helium, which is under pressure of 10 atmospheres. To avoid the phase transformation which oc-curs in uranium at h igh temperatures, 1000 F is set as the internal temperature of the fuel element. The helium gas would have a temperature of 750 F. The helium used in a typical installation would require 45 acres of storage tanks. </p><p>Water-Cooled, Natural Uranium Reac-tor . After considering reactors of the fast breeder, aqueous homogeneous, and D 2 0 -cooled and -moderated heterogenous types, the Pacific Gas and Electric Co.-Bechtel Corp. team felt that the light-water-cooled heavy-water moderated reactor has the best immediate possibilities. They feel, however, that the ultimate may be a liquid-metal-cooled fast reactor, which has the advantages of breeding new fissionable material and allows operations at higher temperatures. Much additional data will h e needed before this t ype of reactor may h e designed. </p><p>Because the costs of plutonium are fairly similar for the different types of reactors, this team made its selection on the basis o f technological considerations. </p><p>The water-cooled reactor consists es-sentially of an aluminum tank contain-ing tubes in which the moderating heavy water is contained. The fuel is placed in pressure tubes which extend through the core tank. Light water, the primary cool-ant, flows through these pressure tubes. Six inches of iron is used in the thermal shield and 8 feet of concrete is used as the primary shield. </p><p>This team concludes that atomic power from immediately feasible water-cooled re-actor power plants cannot compete with power from conventional steam electric plants without the sale of plutonium pro-duced. Certain refinements in thermal efficiency leading to reduced costs seem likely, so that such reactors might be economical even though the outlet for plu-tonium might drop off at some future time. </p><p>This industrial team feels that develop-ment and design of a liquid-metal-cooled fast breeder using solid fuel elements should be undertaken. They also recom-mend that construction then be begun un-less other types, such as the liquid fuel reactor, have been developed. A third recommendation is that the AEC continue work on a liquid-fuel breeder reactor. </p><p>Outside view of Dow's recently dedicated Edgar C. Britton Research Laboratory. Main entrance to the building is located just to right of brick column in right foreground </p><p>Dow Dedicates Laboratory to E. C. Britton J V I A R K I N G the first occasion in its 5 3 -year history that the D o w Chemical Co. has officially named one of its build-ings for a D o w employee, the company dedicated its new organic research labora-tory to Edgar C. Britton, 1952 president of the AMERICAN C H E M I C A L SOCIKTY, and Dow's director of organic research since 1932. Knowledge of the honor to be con-ferred upon Dr. Britton was a closely-held secret in Midland, until a brief in-formal dedication ceremony was held at the laboratory on May 18. There, after a series of testimonials by several of his Dow colleagues, Dr. Britton was pre-sented with a gold key to the laboratory, and surprised with an announcement that the building would thenceforth b e known as the "Edgar C. Britton Research Labora-tory." </p><p>Presiding at the brief ceremony in Dr. Britton's honor was \V. R. Veazey, chair-man of Dow's general research committee. Among those who paid oral tribute to Dr. Britton on the occasion, H. S. Nutting, secretary of the general research commit-tee lauded Britton for his unusual memory, vivid imagination, and dogged persistence. "Doc" Britton is an ideal research man, Nutting said, since he seeks the truth for its own sake, keeping economic and other nonchemical considerations divorced from research matters until the chemical truths are known. Nutting observed that Brit-ton's highly productive career at D o w , which began in 1920, has resulted in an average of almost one patent or technical paper per month. Britton holds 298 U. S. patents, and has published 13 scientific papers. </p><p>Insight into the personal, nonscientific character facets of "Edgar C. Britton, the Man" was contributed by Floyd C. Peter-son, assistant to Dow's executive vice president. Britton's fellow workers, Peter-son said, admire h im not only for his re-search accomplishments, but also for his tolerance, friendliness, sense of humor, and general "down-to-earth" qualities. It may not be generally known, Peterson added, </p><p>that Britton is an exceptional cook, mak-ing a specialty of "Indiana fried chicken." ( Britton is a native of Rockville, lnd., and attended Wabash College in Indiana before obtaining his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Michi-gan in 1918.) </p><p>Still not fully aware that the laboratory was to be named in his honor, Britton acknowledged the tributes of his col-leagues with a few extemporaneous com-ments on his research philosophy. Having earned part or all of his o w n way since the age of 10, Britton said, he had early become accustomed to a great deal of hard work. There is probably no better preparation for a career in chemistry, h e said, since chemical research is "work, work, and more work." Attempting to perform research while sitting at a desk or in a library, Britton observed, is at best a very poor substitute for persistent effort in the laboratory. </p><p>Only after receiving the plaudits of his associates, and replying with his own ob-</p><p>Edgar C. Britton (r ight) , director of Dow's organic research, receives a gold key to the laboratory named in his honor from M. E. Putnam, Dow's executive v p </p><p>2296 C H E M I C A L A N D E N G I N E E R I N G N E W S </p></li><li><p>NEW...and bettor MULTIPLIER PHOTOTUBES DU MONT </p><p>Price (either tube) $55 . 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Boundy, will be known as the Edgar C. Britton Fellowship. </p><p>A large bronze plaque, proclaiming the name of the laboratory .building and the date of its dedication, was hurriedly in-stalled during the dedication ceremony, which was attended by D o w executives, members of the general research com-mittee, and the organic research labora-tories staff. Following the more ''formal" portion of the program, d i e group ad-journed to tour the research facilities, and to view the bronze plaque, which had remained hidden prior to t h e dedication. </p><p>The research building, completed in April, contains about 42,000 square feet of working space and will accommodate about 100 workers, including a technical staff of 60. The major portion of the space is devoted to eight six-man research laboratories and two three-man labora-tories; additional rooms are provided for operations which require exceptionally tall equipment or the use of large or noisy machinery. Two development or "pilot-plant" rooms have been provided, and a storeroom, a darkroom, and a cold storage room complete die research facilities. Offices, a record storage vault, a library and reading room, conference room, and a work shop make the laboratory virtually self-sufficient. </p><p>Laboratory furniture is steel and bench tops are formica-covered plywood. If de-sired, one of the lattice bench islands in each laboratory may be covered with a hood. Any of the large laboratories can be rather easily converted to t w o small ones by building a tile partition. Even if this is done each room will be independent as to ventilation and services. </p><p>Visitors to the new laboratory during a two-day open house following the dedica-tion were presented with a pamphlet ex-plaining the new facilities, and introduc-ing (to those few who d i d not already know him) the laboratory director. In its opening paragraphs, the pamphlet states: </p><p>"Few things today are untouched by chemistry, and the research of the D o w organic chemist is as close t o you as your cigarette (humectants), your bluejeans ( indigo ) , or your soap . . . . gasoline . . . . television lens. </p><p>"This laboratory is dedicated to a man whose leadership was instrurnental in help-ing this company make trie progress of the past, and to the self-starting men he has gathered around him, as the best assurance of even better things for all of us in the future." </p><p>^M &gt;.-- J-V-SJ </p><p>This plant of B. A.-Shawinigan is the first to produce phenol and acetone from pe-troleum through cumene. In the background is British American's Montreal East re-finery from which cumene is piped to the plant owned jointly with Shawinigan Chemicals </p><p>Production of Phenol and Acetone From Oxidation of Cumene Starts </p><p>Canad ian plant is first to use Hercules Powder-Distillers petrochemical process </p><p>'T^HE first plant to produce phenol and acetone from petroleum, through oxida-</p><p>tion of cumene, went into operation last week when B. A.-Shawinigan Ltd. offi-cially opened its plant at Montreal. The company, owned jointly by Shawinigan Chemicals and British American Oil Co., Ltd., is operating under license from Hercules Powder and Distillers Co., Ltd. The $4 million petrochemical plant is ad-jacent to a B. A. refinery where cumene is made by reaction of benzene with pro-pylene. </p><p>The phenol plant, occupying five acres of a 20-acre site, has open construction to avoid undue vapor concentrations. Use of this type design is unusual in Canada and requires about 20 miles of steam tracing line to assure year-round opera-tion. It utilizes a process whereby cumene is air-oxidized to cumene hydroperoxide, which is catalytically split to phenol and acetone. </p><p>*&gt;CH(Ctt,h. Cumene from neighboring B. A. refinery </p><p>B. A.-Shawinigan adds Os from air </p><p>J(CHa)* Catalyst </p><p>By-products: a-methylstyrene, none, and mesityl oxide </p><p>acetophe-</p><p>When ultimate production rates are reached, the plant will produce some 13 million pounds of phenol annually, 8 mil-lion pounds of acetone, and 1 million pounds of a-methylstyrene, as well as sev-eral hundred thousand pounds of aceto-phenone and mesityl oxide. The company says that the capacity for both phenol and acetone is sufficient to supply Cana-dian demand, making the country inde-pendent of the U. S. in the case of phenol, and releasing several hundred tons of cal-cium carbide to Shawinigan Chemicals for use other than acetone production. </p><p>The plant was constructed by M. W. Kellogg Co., 'who is also building the $8 million plant, using the same process, for Hercules near Gibbstown, N . J. Five other large-scale plants using die same process are under construction in the U. S. and abroad. This same basic oxidation-cleav-age process is being used b y Hercules for the production of high-purity p-cresol, resorcinol, hydroquinone, and other phenols. </p><p>ADM Plans Higher Alcohol Plant in Ohio </p><p>Unsaturated higher alcohols will be produced at a chemical plant planned by Archer-Daniels-Midland at Ashtabula, Ohio. Ground for the plant will b e broken this month, and production of both satu-rated and unsaturated alcohols is expected 12 months later. The company says that many of the alcohols which will be made at the plant are not com...</p></li></ul>