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Applied research on organometallics and organic materials


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Dunn, Peter 1979 , 'Applied research on organometallics and organic materials', DSc thesis, University of Tasmania.

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This thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Science,
University of Tasmania, is entitled "Applied Research on Organometallics
and Organic Materials". It represents work undertaken in the employment
of the Commonwealth of Australia during the period 1951-78. The thesis
resulted from a suggestion that some early work carried out by the author
on compounds based on phosphorus, silicon and tin could still be of
interest to scientists associated with organometallic chemistry. The
approval for the unlimited public release of some of this work has enabled
it now to be included.
Prior to joining Defence Standards Laboratories, Department of
Supply (now Materials Research Laboratories, Department of Defence) early
in 1951, studies for the Degrees of Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of
Science with Honours were undertaken at the University of Tasmania. A
short period of post graduate research at the University followed the
completion of the academic requirements for an Honours Degree.
At the Ministry of Supply, Britain,during 1951-53,work was
undertaken on special organometallic compounds. The synthesis of a new
series of ether-containing organophosphorus compounds was initiated in
collaboration with the late A.H. FORD-MOORE, a specialist in organophosphorus
chemistry. This was followed, at my suggestion, by a detailed
study of the structure-toxicity relationships of some silicon analogues
of the organophosphorus compounds. In the early 1950's, the chemistry
of organosilicon compounds was at an early stage of development and this
area of research was relatively unexplored.
The interest generated in phosphorus and silicon chemistry in
Britain stimulated further research on organometallics (and related
materials) following my return to Australia. One of these activities
was the synthesis of a new series of tetraorthoesters of titanium as
these materials were of interest as vehicles for heat-resistant paints.
This work was completed in 1957.
At about the same period, the author became involved with
scientific studies associated with several atomic tests conducted at
Maralinga, South Australia, and code named Operation BUFFALO.
A further area of research on organometallics was initiated in -
1957 and this work, on the chemistry and applications of organotin
compounds, has continued for twenty years. During this period, other
scientists at MRL have also been associated with some of the research
In the mid-1960's, during a period of secondment to the US Army,
work was initiated on the development of high performance, non-black,
ethylene-propylene diene elastomers, using new synthetic materials that
had been introduced in the USA, during 1963-64. On return to Australia,
applied research on organotin compounds was continued as well as work on
a wide range of organic materials, mainly rubbers and plastics. These
types of activities are still in progress.
The original aim of our research activities on organometallics
was to find new applications for these interesting and versatile
chemicals. In the role of additives they have shown considerable promise
in the modification of the properties of a wide range of organic materials
such as: rubbers; plastics; adhesives; sealants; coatings; and
fibres. In this thesis details are given of our efforts to modify organic
materials by the addition of organometallic compounds. To record my
continuing interest in applied research, other items associated with
organic analyses and organic materials are included.
During the period 1951-74, the research was undertaken at
Defence Standards Laboratories (DSL), first in Department of Supply and
then in Department of Manufacturing Industry. On 19 September 1974, DSL'sincreasing
role in scientific studies of defence materials was recognised
by a change of name to Materials Research Laboratories (MRL) and the
transfer of MEL from Department of Manufacturing Industry to Department
of Defence. Summary details of research activities during the period
1951-78, are given at Appendix 1.
The work reported in this thesis was initiated by the author
and undertaken, either alone or, with the collaboration of other
scientific staff. Where appropriate, results have been published in
the open scientific literature or in the form of Government reports,
with collaboration being recognised by co-authorship. Details of
co-authors, including their past and present designations and present
positions, are given at Appendix 2.
Although the research described was conducted over a number
of years, it has all been concerned with the understanding of unexpected
chemical phenomena and the development of new and improved organic
materials of primary interest to the Defence Force of Australia as well
as to the scientific community in general.
All the work reported in this thesis is original and is now
unclassified. Some previously unpublished work is also included. The
nature of this work is indicated in the text, together with details of
official references to documents available from Materials Research
Laboratories. To confirm the initiation of, and participation in,
the reported research activities, copies of some specific documentation
relating to the work presented are also included.
It is a pleasure to record that the late Arthur FORD-M00RE,
Chemical Defence Establishment, Ministry of Defence, Porton, Britain,
was responsible for the stimulation of my interest in defence science
in general, and organometallic chemistry in particular. The example of
his aptitude towards the solving of chemical problems, his manipulative
skill in the laboratory and his general philosophy to research,
provided the stimulus that was necessary to maintain a long-term
continuing interest in organometallics and organic materials of defence
None of the work presented in this thesis has previously been
submitted for the Degree of Doctor of Science.

Item Type: Thesis - DSc
Authors/Creators:Dunn, Peter
Keywords: Organometallic compounds, Materials
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 1979 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (D.Sc.)--University of Tasmania, 1980. Review of research undertaken by the author and colleagues in the period 1951-78, with relevant publications included in appendices. Bibliography: l. 65-82

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