Today in History – January 7, 1913 – William Merriam Burton is awarded the patent for thermal cracking. Cracking is a process where organic molecules and broken down into simpler molecules by breaking carbon-carbon bonds. This process is used to breakdown crude oil into one of its many products. These methods were pioneered in by Benjamin Silliman Jr in 1855. But prior to 1913 one of the most popular ways of turning crude oil into useful products was distillation process which collected different products as they condensed in a distillation tower. While this process worked it produced very little gasoline. Burton new this process wasn’t enough and wanted to improve the process just in case Henry Ford was right about automobiles. After years of testing in the laboratory William Burton developed the process of thermal cracking. In this process elevated temperatures and pressures (over 800C and 700kPa respectively) are used. This in effect doubled the yield from a single barrel of crude oil. In 1913 Burton received US Patent No. 1,049,667 for thermal cracking.
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Engineering Education “Today in History” Blog: Burton Patents Thermal Cracking
by Alice AgoginocloseAuthor: Alice Agogino
Name: Alice Agogino
About: Alice M. Agogino is the Roscoe and Elizabeth Hughes Professor of Mechanical Engineering and is affiliated faculty at the Haas School of Business in their Operations and Information Technology Management Group. Her research interests include: community-based design; sustainable engineering; intelligent learning systems; information retrieval and data mining; multiobjective and strategic product design; nonlinear optimization; probabilistic modeling; intelligent control and manufacturing; sensor validation, fusion and diagnostics; wireless sensor networks; multimedia and computer-aided design; design databases; design theory and methods; MEMS/NEMS synthesis and computer-aided design; artificial intelligence and decision and expert systems; and gender/ethnic equity.
She has served in a number of administrative positions at UC Berkeley, including Chair of the Faculty Senate, Associate Dean of Engineering and Faculty Assistant to the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost in Educational Development and Technology. Prof. Agogino also served as Director for Synthesis, an NSF-sponsored coalition of eight universities with the goal of reforming undergraduate engineering education, and continues as PI for the NEEDS (www.needs.org) and SMETE.ORG digital libraries of courseware in science, mathematics, engineering and technology.
Prof. Agogino received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of New Mexico (1975), M.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering (1978) from the University of California at Berkeley and Ph.D. from the Department of Engineering-Economic Systems at Stanford University (1984). Prior to joining the faculty at UC Berkeley, she worked in industry for Dow Chemical, General Electric and SRI International. She has authored over 150 scholarly publications; has won numerous teaching, best paper and research awards; and is a member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). At NAE she served on the Committee on Engineering Education, working on the Technologically Speaking and the Engineer 2020 projects. She is currently a member of the National Research Council's Board on Education and the Women in Academic Science Engineering Committee. She has supervised 66 MS projects/theses, 26 doctoral dissertations and numerous undergraduate researchers.See Authors Posts (950) · January 7th, 2013 · Add a Comment
Tags: Chemical, Biochemical, Biomolecular Engineering · General Engineering, Engineering Science · Manufacturing Engineering · Mechanical Engineering · Mineral and Mining Engineering · Petroleum Engineering