Pierre Castan

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Pierre Castan 2016-12-06T05:35:21+00:00


The synthesis of epoxide (epoxy) resins has been credited to Dr Pierre Castan of Switzerland, although many other workers had previously carried out and introduced related precursors. (Dr S. O. Greenlee of the USA must especially be given credit for his work on combinations of epichlorhydrin and bisphenol A which are the basic building blocks for volume applications to this day.)

Dr Castan was born in Bern in 1899 and died in Geneva in 1985. After studying in Geneva he joined the De Trey Freres Company in Zurich which practised dental medicine. In 1936 Dr Castan produced an amber coloured, low melting solid from the reaction of bisphenol A with epichlorhydrin (epoxide resin) which could be thermoset by reaction with phthalic anhydride. This was employed for dental fixtures and castings. The patented process was licensed to Ciba Limited who developed new epoxide adhesives.

Dr Castan pursued this work and published further patents from 1940 to 1948 covering the manufacture and hardening reactions of epoxide resins. These ranged from low molecular weight liquid resins to solid higher molecular weight ones. In 1946 Ciba introduced Araldite adhesive resins which are still evident today.

The demand for unreinforced systems for castings, coatings, etc., together with the rapid growth of high performance fibre reinforced composites for structural, electrical and chemical applications, led to many further developments. Today many thousand tons of varied and specialised epoxide resins are produced, although the original work as developed by Dr Castan, and others, remains as the foundation for modern systems.