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Book Review Transition Metal Carbides and Nitrides. By L. E. Toth

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Nucleinsiiuren (Nucleic acids). By D. Beyersmann. Chemische Taschenbucher Band 16 (Chemical Pocketbooks Vol.
16). Verlag Chemie GmbH, Weinheim/Bergstr. 1971. 1st
edit., viii, 192 pp., numerous figs, and tables, bound,
book. It is a pity that the book contains no contributions
on high-temperature plastics, such as diphenyl oxides,
polyimides, and poly-p-xylylenes, though sufficient literature for such contributions has existed for a number of
years. The polysulfones should also belong to this volume.
This book is the latest in the “Chemical Pocketbooks”
series, which have already won a name for themselves by
their good presentations of interesting specialist topics; it
deals with the topical subject of nucleic acids in six chapters.
Nevertheless, the book provides users and processors with
a good, concise source of quickly retrievable information
on polyacetals, epoxy resins, etc. Since the relevant literature is abundantly cited, chemists and applications technologists who wish to delve deeper into the subject can do so
with the aid of this book. The volume can be wholeheartedly
recommended to all who wish to obtain fairly detailed
information on the plastics mentioned in the title.
A discussion on nomenclature, the fundamental monomer
building blocks, and .the chemistry of the high-molecular
nucleic acids is followed by a detailed exposition on the
molecular weight and conformation of these compounds.
The remaining four chapters include the essential facts on
the biosynthesis of nucleotides and a comprehensive treatment of the metabolism of nucleic acids, tables helping to
present the wealth of information in a clear and easily
comprehensible manner. After the role of nucleic acids in
the transmission of genetic information has been clearly
shown and a number of regulation mechanisms have been
discussed, the last chapter indicates some possible ways of
attacking the problems of the metabolism and function of
the nucleic acids.
The author has succeeded in presenting the most important
aspects of this very extensive field in a clear, detailed, and
attractive manner. The reader is familiarized with the
current position on the chemical and biochemical viewpoints on the nucleic acids, and can go into the subject
more deeply by means of the literature references (there
could have been more of these in one or two chapters). The
book is recommended to anyone requiring information on
nucleic acids.
Herbert Schott [NB 71 IE]
Kunststoff-Handbuch (Plastics Handbook). Vol. 11. Polyacetals, Epoxy Resins, Polymers Containing Fluorine,
Silicones, etc., Production, Properties, Processing, and
Use. Edited by R. Vieweg, M . Reiher and H . Scheurlen.
Carl Hanser Verlag, Munchen, 1971, 1st ed., xxii, 616 pp.,
362 figures, 176 tables, bound DM 220.-.
Volume 11, the latest volume of the collective work“], deals
with plastics that do not fit into the rigorous classification
of the earlier volumes. The polyacetals, epoxy resins,
polymers containing fluorine, and silicones are discussed
in detail, while polyvinylalcohols, polyvinylacetals, polyvinyl ethers, polyvinylpyrrolidone, and poly-N-vinylcarbazole are described relatively briefly. The first group of
products mentioned above, like the major plastics described in earlier volumes (polyethylene,polyvinyl chloride, polystyrene, etc.),are discussed in sections dealing with production, properties, processing, and use, after an introduction
presenting a historical survey and some economic data.
Otto Horn [NB 72 IE]
Rompps Chemie Lexikon (Rompp’s Chemical Lexicon).By
0 . - A . Neumiiller. Franck’sche Verlagshandlung, W. Keller & Co., Stuttgart, 1972, 7th ed., vol. 1; xiv, 734 pp.,
numerous figs., bound, DM 1lo.--.
Twenty-five years have elapsed since the first edition of this
work appeared. The first volume of the seventh edition is
now out, covering the entries from A to C. The new editor
is 0 . - A . Neumiiller, who took over when E. Uhlein died.
On thumbing through the new first volume, one first notices
that it is now the pages and not the columns that are
numbered, the head words stand out, and the material
must have been subjected to very careful editing and
proofreading. The number of entries has not yet been
specified, but comparison with the sixth edition‘’] points
to a roughly 10% increase in volume. Almost all the
entries have been revised or rewritten; in particular those
coming under organic chemistry, physical chemistry, biochemistry, and nuclear chemistry have been extended. This
amplification has not been entirely successful in the case
of named reactions, because some of them are still missing.
The key words are also given in English and French, and, as
mentioned in the Preface, they will be listed alphabetically‘
at the end of the last volume. However, this list is likely to
be incomplete, because the terms are not always given after
the head words. Compounds are named according to
IUPAC rules. One or more sources of supply are usually
specified for each substance, which will certainly be found
most useful. The literature references have been increased
in number and are now fully up to date. The listing of
tradenames in entries on drugs has been mostly abandoned.
This volume deserves a good reception, as do the further
volumes of Rompps Chemie Lexikon, which are to be
published at intervals of six months.
Christian Weiske [NB 74 IE]
[I]Cf. Angew. Chem. Internat. Edit. 6, 893 (1967)
The sections on epoxy resins and polymers containing
fluorine are particularly successful. A rather more comprehensive discussion would have been justified in the
chapter on polyvinyl acetals, polyvinyl ethers, etc. Lacquer
raw materials should also find a place in a plastics hand-
Transition Metal Carbides and Nitrides. By L. E. Toth,
Academic Press New York-London 1971. 1st ed., xiii,
279 pp., numerous figures and tables, bound $ 16.50.
[I]Cf. Angew. Chem. Internat. Edit. 9 , 817 (1970)
The carbides and the nitrides of groups 4 to 6 of the periodic
system have found steadily growing importance in research
Angew. Chem. internat. Edit.
Val. I 1 (1972) 1 No. 10
and in industry because of their high melting points (up to
4100 “C), their very low creep rates at high temperatures
and their particularly good wear resistance, as well as other
favorable thermal and electrical properties. Whereas the
tungsten-based hard metals have been of world-wide
importance for many years, it is only during the past few
years that in particular the carbides of titanium, zirconium,
and tantalum, as well as their nitrides, have come into
industrial use. Thus, because of their low tendency to wear,
thin coatings of titanium carbide and titanium nitride
with lower-melting metals lead to a considerable improvement in the service life of cutting metals, and solid solutions
ofthecarbidesandnitridesoftitanium haveyieldedvaluable
materials for special uses in electrical engineering. For the
further development of these carbide and nitride materials,
however, a thorough knowledge of their crystal-chemical,
thermodynamic, and electrical properties as well as of their
superconductivity will be necessary in order to improve
above all their mechanical properties.
The fundamental knowledge about the properties of these
substances is presented comprehensively in this book,
which therefore offers the investigator in this field valuable
support, in connection both with the preparation of these
materials and with their possible uses.
W Dawihl [NB 80 IE]
The Periodic System of Chemical Elements. By J . van
Spronsen. Elsevier Publ. Comp., Amsterdam-London-New
York 1969. 1st ed., xv, 368 pp., numerous figures and
tables, bound Dfl. 50.-.
For more than ten years now van Spronsen has been
intermittently publishing interesting material on the
history and prehistory of the periodic system of chemical
elements, and the profession was aware that a larger work
from his pen was to be published in 1969, 100 years after
Dimitri Zvanovich Mendeleev’s publication. The hopes and
expectations of a new standard work on the history of
chemistry were fulfilled, and it was surprising how much
additional material the author had to relate.
By dividing the book into two parts (Part I :General Aspects
pp. 7to211 ;Part II:SpecificAspects,pp.213-355,followed
by a personal index and a subject index), he has managed
to present this material without overwhelming the reader
with details, since the first part gives a systematic survey,
into which everything else fits automatically because of the
cross references in the second part. Moreover, because of
the great scientific importance of the search for a system
of elements and the construction of the periodic system,
the book also constitutes a history of the chemistry of the
past 200 years, and in particular a history of ideas and
Not surprisingly to a science historian, it emerged that the
idea of a “natural” system of the chemical elements was
already very old, and that the stimulus by no means always
arose exclusivelyfrom chemistry or was chemically oriented
from the outset. There was a series of affinity tables in the
18th century, which are not discussed in any detail by van
Spronsen (but cf. A . M . Duncan: Some theoretical aspects
of eighteenth-century Tables of Affinity I. Annals of
Science 18, 177-194 (1962)), but comprehensive tables of
a “natural” system were possible only after the acceptance
of Lauoisier’s antiphlogistic chemistry; the first appeared
soon after this (Dobereiner’s triads, Berzelius’s electrochemical system, etc.). A periodic system was possible only
after terms such as atom and atomic weight had been ciarified at the Chemist’s Conference at Karlsruhe in 1860.
A whole series of such systems immediately appeared, and
the well-known systems of Lothar Meyer (1864/1870) and
Mendeleev (1869) were by no means the first; A . E. Bgguyer
de Chancourtois (1 862), J . A . R. Newlands (1863), W . Odling
(1864),and G. D.Hinrichs (1867)had preceded them in part.
However, the various workers knew little or nothing about
one another, and van Spronsen rightly states (p. 135): “It
should be clearly understood that Mendeleev’s work was
so brilliant precisely because he knew nothing of the studies
of his contemporaries. . . If he had known of them, Mendeleev’s work could only be considered as a useful summary
and continuation of that of his predecessors”. (It was only
on the presentation of his results to the meeting of the
Russian Chemical Society in March 1869 that Oiding’s
work was brought to his notice.)
On the basis of van Spronsen’s definition of the periodic
system @. 338: “The periodic system of elements is a sequence of all [known] elements arranged according to
increasing atomic weight in which the elements with
analogous properties are arranged in the same group or
column”), all six investigators mentioned above should be
referred to as “discoverers”, and this is confirmed by the
many other attempts that were subsequently made to find
an arrangement. (The author lists and discusses them with
their reasons and their consequences up to and including
1949; E. G. Mazur [Types of graphic representation of the
Periodic System of Chemical Elements, 19571carried them
on up to 1955, but mainly only bibliographically.)
The book is a goldmine for those who are interested in the
history of chemistry, and contains an abundance of interesting information and ideas from the recent history of
chemistry, which would offer stimulation and orientation
even to the non-historically minded chemist.
Fritz Krafft
[NB 73 IE]
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Angew. Chem. internat. Edit.I Val. II (1972) 1 No. I0
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