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Rudolf Vondracek

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Professor Rudolf Vondracek (1881-1938)

1938 Obituary [1]

Professor Dr. Rudolf Vondrieek died on June 12, 1938, at Brno, after a long illness.

He was born in 1881 at Sobotka in Bohemia, and received his technical training at the Technical University at Prague, where he graduated as chemical engineer in 1902.

After leaving the University he entered the iron-works of C. T. Petzold and Co. at Komarov, where he spent a year as chemist. He was afterwards appointed Assistant at the Technical University of Prague in the laboratory of chemical technology and metallurgy, where he graduated in 1904 as Doctor of Chemical Technology.

In 1907 VondreZek entered the Austrian Patent Office in Vienna, as reporter on the metallurgy of iron and gas-firing. Taking a keen interest in the technology of metals, he was appointed lecturer in the technology of metals at the newly founded Chemical Department of the Czech Technical University at Brno.

In 1918, after the Great War, VondreAek became Professor of Metallurgy, Metallography, and Fuel Technology at this University and director of the laboratories. While there Professor VondreZek was twice elected Dean of the Chemical Department and for the year 1935-36 was Rector of the Technical University.

Professor Vondrakek was a man of remarkable zeal and universal activity. Always an eminent teacher, he was an ingenious investigator and author of a great number of papers and text-books. Professor Vondrieek was a born physical chemist, and his scientific work can be divided into three main groups: chemistry of sugar, fuels, and metals - especially their corrosion. His first scientific work was concerned with the chemistry of sugars, carried out in collaboration with Professor E. Votooek; followed by an investigation on the influence of metals on the hydrolysis of cane sugar. Professor Vondratek soon turned, however, to the practical problems of the technology of metals, and published papers on the scientific basis of the enamelling of iron, on the theory of amalgamation of silver, the roasting of sulphide ores, the cementation of iron in the light of chemical equilibria, the hardness and the electrical resistance of iron-carbon alloys, the molecular aspect of the cohesion of metals, the tensile strength and cohesion of metals and alloys, etc.

His work on fuel technology is also very interesting. His formula for the computation of the calorific value of fuel from its chemical composition is fully appreciated by the majority of fuel technologists, and he was responsible for many papers on problems of fuel technology. Professor Vondradek dealt with the corrosion of metals in several papers : the influence of impurities on the dissolution of zinc in acids, the dissolution velocity of zinc-tin alloys in acids, the estimation of the thickness and quality of protective coatings on galvanized iron. Some of the papers were published in collaboration with others in the various Czech, German, English, and French technical journals.

Professor Vondracek was also the author of some technical books (in Czech), in particular "Introduction to Metallography," "Principles of Calculations in Chemical Manufacture," and (together with Professor Quadrat) "The Manufacture of Iron." Professor Vondra6ek was elected a member of the Institute of Metals on July 20,1925. By his death Czech technical science has suffered a great loss.

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