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Fritz Klatte: PVC 1

Fritz Klatte

Curriculum vitae:
1880 Diepholz, Germany - 1934 Klagenfurt, Austria
1896: Training as pharmacist in Berlin
1902: Pharmacy and Chemistry Degree
1908: Chemist at Griesheim Elektron, Frankfurt, later Hoechst AG.

Main Research Focus
Search for a replacement for the easily inflammable celluloid for the production of films, combs, buttons, buckles ...
Before 1914: attempts to develop a technically usable product out of vinyl chloride (raw material for PVC)

Invention
Basis for the production of vinyl chloride and its polymerisation.
1912: Klatte obtains vinyl chloride through the addition of hydrochloric acid and acetylene.
1913: Basis for the technical production of PVC for films, synthetic fibres, varnish and as a horn substitute. The development of a saleable product fails. In 1926 Griesheim Elektron relinquishes Klatte's patent. The field becomes free for the research activities of other companies.

First Products
Thin-walled cast film, plates, tubes, rods, plastic profiles.

Manufacture
PVC - the first economically viable processed chemical agent.
In 1934 BASF was successful in enabling the plasticising of hard-PVC at 160° C, without the feared decomposition occurring.

What has happened to PVC?
"PVC - a German Plastic" according to common terminology of the 1930s
In 1935 IG Farbenindustrie AG began the large-scale production of PVC.

The possibilities of PVC
1935
 PVC-high-pressure pipes
1941 PVC-imitation leather (e.g. for the seats on London buses)

After 1945
PVC becomes the most-widely produced plastic in the world for building products such as windows, pipes, roofing, floor coverings, cable sheathing, records, cheque cards, packaging and car industry products.
1980s: PVC has become a discussion topic regarding chlorochemical products.
In 1988 the Green Party demanded that Germany withdraw from PVC-production.
The tree raft - an inflatable PVC research deck above the treetops of the rainforest. PVC-windows are export winners. Demand is also strong for membrane coverings

Usage Today
Global production 2000: 26 million tonnes.
Production in Germany 2001: 1.75 million tonnes of PVC production.

“Klatte never interrupts his research. Even when on holiday on Sylt he placed the test tubes he had brought with him on the roof of the stable, in order to be able to observe the effects of the Northern sunlight on the chemicals.” (Report by his wife)

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