Georges Claude

Last updated
Georges Claude
Georges Claude 1926.jpg
Georges Claude in 1926
Born24 September 1870
Paris, France
Died23 May 1960 (aged 89)
Saint-Cloud, France
Known forClaude cycle
Neon lighting
Ocean energy conversion
Awards Leconte Prize (1921)
Scientific career
FieldsEngineering

Georges Claude (24 September 1870 23 May 1960) was a French engineer and inventor. He is noted for his early work on the industrial liquefaction of air, for the invention and commercialization of neon lighting, and for a large experiment on generating energy by pumping cold seawater up from the depths. [1] He has been considered by some to be "the Edison of France". [2] [3] Claude was an active collaborator with the German occupiers of France during the Second World War, for which he was imprisoned in 1945 and stripped of his honors. [1] [2] [4]

Contents

Early career

Georges Claude studied at the École supérieure de physique et de chimie industrielles de la ville de Paris (ESPCI). [5] He then held several positions. He was an electrical inspector in a cable factory and the laboratory manager in an electric works. He founded and edited a magazine, L'Étincelle Électrique (The Electric Spark); his important friendship with Jacques-Arsène d'Arsonval apparently dates from this time. [6] About 1896, Claude learned of the explosion risk for bottled acetylene, which was used at the time for lighting. Acetylene is explosive when stored under pressure. Claude showed that acetylene dissolved well in acetone, equivalent to storing it under 25 atmospheres of pressure, reduced the risk in handling the gas. [7]

Liquefaction of air

In 1902 Claude devised what is now known as the Claude system for liquifying air. [8] The system enabled the production of industrial quantities of liquid nitrogen, oxygen, and argon; Claude's approach competed successfully with the earlier system of Carl von Linde (1895). [9] Claude and businessman Paul Delorme founded L'Air Liquide, S.A. (Air Liquide), which is presently a large multinational corporation headquartered in Paris, France.

Neon lighting

Gas discharge tube containing neon; "Ne" is the chemical symbol for neon. NeTube.jpg
Gas discharge tube containing neon; "Ne" is the chemical symbol for neon.

Inspired by Geissler tubes and by Daniel McFarlan Moore's invention of a nitrogen-based light (the "Moore tube"), Claude developed neon tube lighting to exploit the neon that was produced as a byproduct of his air liquefaction business. [10] These were all "glow discharge" tubes that generate light when an electric current is passed through the rarefied gas within the tube. Claude's first public demonstration of a large neon light was at the Paris Motor Show (Salon de l'Automobile et du Cycle), 3–18 December 1910. [11] [12] Claude's first patent filing for his technologies in France was on 7 March 1910. [13] Claude himself wrote in 1913 that, in addition to a source of neon gas, there were two principal inventions that made neon lighting practicable. First were his methods for purifying the neon (or other inert gases such as argon). Claude developed techniques for purifying the inert gases within a completely sealed glass tube, which distinguished neon tube lighting from the Moore tubes; the latter had a device for replenishing the nitrogen or carbon dioxide gases within the tube. The second invention was ultimately crucial for the development of the Claude lighting business; it was a design for minimizing the degradation (by "sputtering") of the electrodes that transfer electric current from the external power supply to the glowing gases within the sign. [10]

The terms "neon light" and "neon sign" are now often applied to electrical lighting incorporating sealed glass tubes filled with argon, mercury vapor, or other gases instead of neon. In 1915 a U.S. patent was issued to Claude covering the design of the electrodes for neon lights; [14] this patent became the strongest basis for the monopoly held in the U.S. by his company, Claude Neon Lights, through the early 1930s. [15]

Georges Claude and the French company he founded have long been said to have introduced neon signs to the United States by selling two to Earle C. Anthony, the owner of Packard car dealerships in San Francisco and Los Angeles (in 1923) but no conclusive evidence of this has ever been uncovered. Instead, photographs from 1923-25 reveal a neon sign in Los Angeles, but not until 1925. A photograph of Anthony's San Francisco dealership may show a neon Packard sign in 1924 but is not conclusive. [16] However, by 1924 Claude's company (Claude Neon) had opened subsidiaries or licensed patents to affiliated companies across the US (like Electrical Products, Company on the US West Coast) and, though neon signage caught on only slowly, by the 1930s it was common across the US, eventually becoming, for a few decades, the country's dominant form of lit signage. [17]

Ocean thermal energy conversion

Georges Claude conducting a demonstration on ocean thermal energy conversion at the Institut de France in 1926. Georges Claude a l'Institut 1926.jpg
Georges Claude conducting a demonstration on ocean thermal energy conversion at the Institut de France in 1926.

Claude's mentor and friend was Jacques-Arsène d'Arsonval, the inventor of the "Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion" (OTEC) concept. Claude was also the first person to build prototype plants of that technology. Claude built his plant in Cuba in 1930. The system produced 22 kilowatts of electricity with a low-pressure turbine. [3] [18]

In 1935, Claude constructed another plant, this time aboard a 10,000-ton cargo vessel moored off the coast of Brazil. Weather and waves destroyed both plants before they could become net power generators. [18] (Net power is the amount of power generated after subtracting power needed to run the system.)

Wartime collaboration and post-war imprisonment

Even as a young engineer, Claude was unsympathetic to democratic rule. [6] In 1933 he joined the Action française , which favored restoration of a monarchy in France. [4] He was a close friend of the monarchist leader Charles Maurras. [2] Following the 1940 defeat of France by Germany at the beginning of the Second World War, the subsequent German occupation of northern France and establishment of the Vichy regime in the south, Claude publicly supported French collaboration with Germany. Among his other activities, he published several tracts supporting collaboration. [19] [20] [21] He was a member of a Distinguished Committee of the Groupe Collaboration , which had been founded in September, 1940. He was nominated by the Vichy regime as a member of the Conseil National Consultatif in 1941.

Following the Allied liberation of France in 1944, Claude was taken into custody on 2 December 1944 because of his collaboration with the Axis Powers. He was removed from the French Academy of Sciences. In 1945 he was tried and convicted of propaganda work favoring collaboration, but was cleared of another charge that he helped design the V-1 flying bomb. He was condemned to life imprisonment, and was imprisoned. In 1950 he was released from prison, with acknowledgment of his research on ocean thermal energy conversion. [1]

Selected bibliography

Claude wrote several semi-popular descriptions of his research, in addition to his wartime tracts and a memoir.

Related Research Articles

Argon Chemical element with atomic number 18

Argon is a chemical element with the symbol Ar and atomic number 18. It is in group 18 of the periodic table and is a noble gas. Argon is the third-most abundant gas in the Earth's atmosphere, at 0.934%. It is more than twice as abundant as water vapor, 23 times as abundant as carbon dioxide, and more than 500 times as abundant as neon. Argon is the most abundant noble gas in Earth's crust, comprising 0.00015% of the crust.

Noble gas Any of the group of chemical elements previously known as inert gases

The noble gases make up a group of chemical elements with similar properties; under standard conditions, they are all odorless, colorless, monatomic gases with very low chemical reactivity. The six naturally occurring noble gases are helium (He), neon (Ne), argon (Ar), krypton (Kr), xenon (Xe), and the radioactive radon (Rn). Oganesson (Og) is variously predicted to be a noble gas as well or to break the trend due to relativistic effects; its chemistry has not yet been investigated.

Neon Chemical element with atomic number 10

Neon is a chemical element with the symbol Ne and atomic number 10. It is a noble gas. Neon is a colorless, odorless, inert monatomic gas under standard conditions, with about two-thirds the density of air. It was discovered in 1898 as one of the three residual rare inert elements remaining in dry air, after nitrogen, oxygen, argon and carbon dioxide were removed. Neon was the second of these three rare gases to be discovered and was immediately recognized as a new element from its bright red emission spectrum. The name neon is derived from the Greek word, νέον, neuter singular form of νέος (neos), meaning new. Neon is chemically inert, and no uncharged neon compounds are known. The compounds of neon currently known include ionic molecules, molecules held together by van der Waals forces and clathrates.

William Ramsay British Scottish physical chemist, 1904 Nobel Prize winner

Sir William Ramsay was a Scottish chemist who discovered the noble gases and received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1904 "in recognition of his services in the discovery of the inert gaseous elements in air" along with his collaborator, John William Strutt, 3rd Baron Rayleigh, who received the Nobel Prize in Physics that same year for their discovery of argon. After the two men identified argon, Ramsay investigated other atmospheric gases. His work in isolating argon, helium, neon, krypton and xenon led to the development of a new section of the periodic table.

The timeline of underwater diving technology is a chronological list of notable events in the history of underwater diving.

Aqua-Lung original name for open-circuit scuba equipment

Aqua-Lung was the first open-circuit, self-contained underwater breathing apparatus to reach worldwide popularity and commercial success. This class of equipment is now commonly referred to as a diving regulator or demand valve. The Aqua-Lung was invented in Paris during the winter of 1942–1943 by two Frenchmen: the engineer Émile Gagnan and the Naval Lieutenant Jacques Cousteau. It allowed Cousteau and Gagnan to film and explore more easily underwater.

Fluorescent lamp Light source

A fluorescent lamp, or fluorescent tube, is a low-pressure mercury-vapor gas-discharge lamp that uses fluorescence to produce visible light. An electric current in the gas excites mercury vapor, which produces short-wave ultraviolet light that then causes a phosphor coating on the inside of the lamp to glow. A fluorescent lamp converts electrical energy into useful light much more efficiently than incandescent lamps. The typical luminous efficacy of fluorescent lighting systems is 50–100 lumens per watt, several times the efficacy of incandescent bulbs with comparable light output.

Neon lamp Light source based on gas discharge

A neon lamp is a miniature gas discharge lamp. The lamp typically consists of a small glass capsule that contains a mixture of neon and other gases at a low pressure and two electrodes. When sufficient voltage is applied and sufficient current is supplied between the electrodes, the lamp produces an orange glow discharge. The glowing portion in the lamp is a thin region near the cathode; the larger and much longer neon signs are also glow discharges, but they use the positive column which is not present in the ordinary neon lamp. Neon glow lamps were widely used as indicator lamps in the displays of electronic instruments and appliances.

Neon sign electrified, luminous tube lights

In the signage industry, neon signs are electric signs lighted by long luminous gas-discharge tubes that contain rarefied neon or other gases. They are the most common use for neon lighting, which was first demonstrated in a modern form in December 1910 by Georges Claude at the Paris Motor Show. While they are used worldwide, neon signs were popular in the United States from about 1920–1960. The installations in Times Square, many originally designed by Douglas Leigh, were famed, and there were nearly 2,000 small shops producing neon signs by 1940. In addition to signage, neon lighting is used frequently by artists and architects, and in plasma display panels and televisions. The signage industry has declined in the past several decades, and cities are now concerned with preserving and restoring their antique neon signs.

Daniel McFarlan Moore American scientist

Daniel McFarlan Moore was a U.S. electrical engineer and inventor. He developed a novel light source, the "Moore lamp", and a business that produced them in the early 1900s. The Moore lamp was the first commercially viable light-source based on gas discharges instead of incandescence; it was the predecessor to contemporary neon lighting and fluorescent lighting. In his later career Moore developed a miniature neon lamp that was extensively used in electronic displays, as well as vacuum tubes that were used in early television systems.

A gas laser is a laser in which an electric current is discharged through a gas to produce coherent light. The gas laser was the first continuous-light laser and the first laser to operate on the principle of converting electrical energy to a laser light output. The first gas laser, the Helium–neon laser (HeNe), was co-invented by Iranian-American physicist Ali Javan and American physicist William R. Bennett, Jr. in 1960. It produced a coherent light beam in the infrared region of the spectrum at 1.15 micrometres.

Neon lighting lighting apparatus, electrifies rarefied neon in a sealed tube

Neon lighting consists of brightly glowing, electrified glass tubes or bulbs that contain rarefied neon or other gases. Neon lights are a type of cold cathode gas-discharge light. A neon tube is a sealed glass tube with a metal electrode at each end, filled with one of a number of gases at low pressure. A high potential of several thousand volts applied to the electrodes ionizes the gas in the tube, causing it to emit colored light. The color of the light depends on the gas in the tube. Neon lights were named for neon, a noble gas which gives off a popular orange light, but other gases and chemicals are used to produce other colors, such as hydrogen (red), helium (yellow), carbon dioxide (white), and mercury (blue). Neon tubes can be fabricated in curving artistic shapes, to form letters or pictures. They are mainly used to make dramatic, multicolored glowing signage for advertising, called neon signs, which were popular from the 1920s to the 1950s.

Carbide lamp Acetylene-burning lamps

Carbide lamps, or acetylene gas lamps, are simple lamps that produce and burn acetylene (C2H2) which is created by the reaction of calcium carbide (CaC2) with water (H2O).

Air Liquide French multinational company which supplies industrial gases and services

Air Liquide S.A., is a French multinational company which supplies industrial gases and services to various industries including medical, chemical and electronic manufacturers. Founded in 1902, after Linde it is the second largest supplier of industrial gases by revenues and has operations in over 80 countries. It has headquarters at the 7th arrondissement of Paris, France. Air Liquide owned the patent for Aqua-Lung until it expired.

Industrial gas Gaseous materials produced for use in industry

Industrial gases are the gaseous materials that are manufactured for use in industry. The principal gases provided are nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, argon, hydrogen, helium and acetylene, although many other gases and mixtures are also available in gas cylinders. The industry producing these gases is also known as industrial gas, which is seen as also encompassing the supply of equipment and technology to produce and use the gases. Their production is a part of the wider chemical Industry.

Gas-discharge lamp artificial light sources powered by ionized gas electric discharge

Gas-discharge lamps are a family of artificial light sources that generate light by sending an electric discharge through an ionized gas, a plasma. Typically, such lamps use a noble gas or a mixture of these gases. Some include additional substances, like mercury, sodium, and metal halides, which are vaporized during startup to become part of the gas mixture. In operation, some of the electrons are forced to leave the atoms of the gas near the anode by the electric field applied between the two electrodes, leaving these atoms positively ionized. The free electrons thus released flow onto the anode, while the cations thus formed are accelerated by the electric field and flow towards the cathode. Typically, after traveling a very short distance, the ions collide with neutral gas atoms, which transfer their electrons to the ions. The atoms, having lost an electron during the collisions, ionize and speed toward the cathode while the ions, having gained an electron during the collisions, return to a lower energy state while releasing energy in the form of photons. Light of a characteristic frequency is thus emitted. In this way, electrons are relayed through the gas from the cathode to the anode. The color of the light produced depends on the emission spectra of the atoms making up the gas, as well as the pressure of the gas, current density, and other variables. Gas discharge lamps can produce a wide range of colors. Some lamps produce ultraviolet radiation which is converted to visible light by a fluorescent coating on the inside of the lamp's glass surface. The fluorescent lamp is perhaps the best known gas-discharge lamp.

A Penning mixture, named after Frans Michel Penning, is a mixture of gases used in electric lighting or displaying fixtures. Although the popular phrase for the most common of these is a neon lamp, it is more efficient to have the glass tube filled not with pure neon, but with a Penning mixture, which is defined as a mixture of one inert gas with a minute amount of another gas, one that has lower ionization voltage than the main constituent.

Gustave Trouvé French electrical engineer and inventor

Gustave Pierre Trouvé was a French electrical engineer and inventor in the 19th century.

In chemistry, the term chemically inert is used to describe a substance that is not chemically reactive. From a thermodynamic perspective, a substance is inert, or nonlabile, if it is thermodynamically unstable yet decomposes at a slow, or negligible rate.

Messer Group supplier of industrial gases

The Messer Group GmbH is a supplier of industrial gases. Business is focused on 30 European and Asian countries. The company headquarters are located in Bad Soden (Germany).

References

  1. 1 2 3 "Georges Claude, Inventor, Dies; Creator of Neon Light was 89". The New York Times. May 24, 1960. p. 37. Paid access.
  2. 1 2 3 "FRANCE: Paranoia?". Time Magazine. July 9, 1945.
  3. 1 2 Chiles, James (Winter 2009). "The Other Renewable Energy". Invention and Technology. 23 (4): 24–35. Archived from the original on 2009-12-02.
  4. 1 2 Venner, Dominique (2000). Histoire de la collaboration [History of the Collaboration] (in French). Pygmalion-Gérard Watelet. ISBN   978-2-85704-642-4.
  5. "ESPCI ParisTech Alumni 1889".
  6. 1 2 3 Blondel, Christine (1985). "Industrial science as a "show": A case study of Georges Claude". In Shinn, Terry; Whitley, Richard (eds.). Expository Science: Forms and Functions of Popularisation. D. Reidel. p.  251. ISBN   978-90-277-1831-0.
  7. Almqvist, Ebbe (2003). History of industrial gases. Springer. p. 242. ISBN   978-0-306-47277-0.
  8. Greenwood, Harold Cecil (1919). Industrial Gases. D. Van Nostrand. p. 87.
  9. Iqbal, S. A. (2005). Physical Chemistry. Discovery Publishing House. p. 42. ISBN   978-81-7141-994-4.
  10. 1 2 Claude, Georges (November 1913). "The Development of Neon Tubes". The Engineering Magazine: 271–274.
  11. There is, as yet, no satisfactory primary source to the actual date on which Claude unveiled his neon lights at the 1910 Paris Motor Show. Many references give 3 December 1910, which was the starting date for the show. See Robertson, Patrick (1974). The book of firsts. C. N. Potter. and also the Motor Show poster. Others give 11 December; see Bloom, Ken (2004). Broadway: its history, people, and places : an encyclopedia. Taylor & Francis. ISBN   978-0-415-93704-7..
  12. Testelin, Xavier. "Reportage – Il était une fois le néon No. 402" (in French). Retrieved 2010-12-06. Claude's 1910 demonstration of neon lighting lit the peristyle of the Grand Palais in Paris; this webpage includes a recent photograph that gives an impression of it. It is part of an extensive selection of images of neon lighting; see "Reportage – Il était une fois le néon".
  13. FRpatent 424190,Georges Claude,"Perfectionnements dans l'eclairage par tubes luminescents",issued 1911-03-08
  14. US 1125476,Georges Claude,"Systems of Illuminating by Luminescent Tubes",issued 1915-01-19 See reproduction of patent.
  15. "Claude Neon Lights Wins Injunction Suit: Also Gets Rights to Recover Profits and Damages Resulting From Patent Infringement". The New York Times. November 28, 1928. Paid access.
  16. Saillant, Catherine (2013-12-03). "Pair sheds new light on L.A.'s claim to neon fame". Los Angeles Times . Retrieved 2018-09-23.
  17. Rinaldi, Tom (2013). New York Neon. WW Norton Company. ISBN   0393733416 . Retrieved 31 December 2019.
  18. 1 2 Takahashi, Masayuki Mac (2000) [1991]. "2. Ocean Water and Its Wonderful Potential" (PDF). Deep Ocean Water as Our Next Natural Resource. Translated by Kitazawa, Kazuhiro; Snowden, Paul. Tokyo, Japan: Terra Scientific Publishing Company. ISBN   978-4-88704-125-7.
  19. Claude, Georges (1941). Histoire d'une évolution: de l'hostilité à la collaboration [History of an Evolution: On Hostility Against Collaboration] (in French). Les Éditions de France.
  20. Claude, Georges (1942). La seule route [The Only Route] (in French). Inter-France.
  21. Claude, Georges; Vuillermoz, Émile (1943). Français, il faut comprendre! [France! You Must Understand!] (in French). L. Hardy.
  22. Paxton, Robert O. (1997). French peasant fascism: Henry Dorgère's Greenshirts and the crises of French agriculture, 1929–1939. Oxford University Press. p. 33. ISBN   978-0-19-511189-7.

Further reading

Books
Patent