Shilov, Nikolay Aleksandrovich

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(b Moscow, Russia, 10 July 1872: d. Gagry, U.S.S.R., 17 August 1930)


Shilov graduated from Moscow University in 1895. In 1896–1897 and 1901–1904 he worked in Ostwald’s physics and chemistry laboratory at Leipzig, where he began research on chemical kinetics. From 1910 he was professor in the department of inorganic chemistry at the Moscow Technical College and from 1911, professor at the Moscow Commercial Institute. From 1915 to 1918 he headed the technical section on gas, attached to the headquarters on the Western Front. In 1919–1921 Shilov helped organize the Institute of Chemical Research in Moscow.

Shilov’s master’s thesis (1905) systematized a large amount of experimental material on conjugate oxidation reactions. He there offered several theoretical generalizations and developed terminology for all the processes and active components, namely chemical induction, induction factor, actor, inductor, and acceptor (terms used in the field of catalysis). Subsequently these terms became generally accepted in chemical literature. Shilov gave special attention to the study of selfinduction and to transitional phenomena between induction and catalysis.

Shilov’s research demonstrated the central role of intermediary products in the kinetics of conjugate oxidation reactions. Using the conjugate oxidation reactions as a model, he developed a theory of the action of photographic developers.

Shilov began his study of gas adsorption duing World War I. Introducing Zelinsky’s charcoal filter gas mask into the Russian army, Shilov established a laboratory at the front, where he conducted a broad investigation of the adsorption of gases in an air flow containing poisonous substances. He established the relationship between the length of the layer of adsorbent and the duration of its effectiveness.

In 1919 Shilov began to study the adsorption of substances from solutions and the distribution of substances between two liquid phases. He also constructed a formula for the distribution of a substance between two solvents.

Investigating hydrolytic adsorption, Shilov demonstrated that, according to the surface oxides of carbon, the latter element manifests the characteristics of either a positive or a negative adsorbent. Shilov’s representation of active carbon, as an adsorbent having various surface functional groups that enter into exchange reactions with adsorbing substances, must be considered the first explanation of the principle of the action of ion exchangers (cation and anion exchange resins).


I. Original Works. Shilov’s writings include “Zur Systematik und Theorie gekoppelter Oxydations-Re-duktionsvorgänge,” in Zeitschrift für physikalische Chemie, 46 (1903), 777–817, written with R. Lüther; O sopryazhennykh reaktsiakh okislenia (“On Conjugate Oxidation Reactions”; Moscow, 1905): “K teorii foto-graficheskogo proyavitelya” (“Toward a Theory of Photographic Developers”), in Sbornik posvyashchenny K. A. Timiryazevu ego uchenikami (“A Collection Dedicated to Timiryazev by His Students”: Moscow, 1916), 111–129: “Adsorbtsia elektrolitov i molekulyarnye sily” (“Molecular Forces and the Adsorption of Electrolytes”), in Vestnik Lomonosovskogo fiziko-khimicheskogo obshchestva v Moskve, 1 , no. 1 (1919), 1–137, written with L. K. Lepin: “Raspredelenie veshchestva mezhdu dvumya rastvoritelyami i silovoe pole rastvora” (“The Distribution of a Substance Between Two Solvents and the Strength Field of a Solution”), ibid., no. 2 (1920), 1–103, written with L. K. Lepin: “K voprosu ob adsorbtsii postoronnego gaza iz toka vozdukha” (“Toward the Question of the Adsorption of Foreign Gases From an Air Flow”), in Zhurnal Russkogo fiziko-khimicheskogo obshchestva, chem, sec., 61 (1929); 1107; written with L. K. Lepin and A. S. Voznesensky: and “Studien über Kohleoberflaächenoxyde,” in Zeitschrift für physikalische Chemie, 150 (1930), 31–36, written with E. G. Shatunovskaya and K. V. Chmutov.

II. Secondary Literature. See “Krupny russky ucheny Nikolay Aleksandrovich Shilov” (“The Outstanding Russian Scientist Shilov”), in Uspekhi khimii15 , no. 2 (1946), 233–264; and N. N. Ushakova, Nikolay Aleksandrovich Shilov (Moscow, 1966).

Y. I. Soloviev