LIFE AND CREATIVE ACTIVITIES OF O.G.ZARUBITSKII
Oleg Grigorovich Zarubitskii, a noted scientist, Doctor of Technical Sciences, Professor, Corresponding Member of The Ukrainian National Academy of Sciences, Honored Scientist of Ukraine, is one of the most talented and outstanding representatives of the world-famous Ukraine school of high-temperature electrochemistry, the founders of which are Academicians B.A. Plotnikov and Yu.K. Delimarskii. He won recognition of the scientific circles by his works in the field of the electrochemistry of ionic melts and pyroeletrometallurgy. The results of his scientific research in the fields of metal transfer in molten electrolytes, electrorefining of non-ferrous metals, thermodynamics of systems; alkaline melts-metal oxides and technological processes developed on their basis are well-known not only to chemists but also to technologists-metallurgists both in this country and abroad.
O.G. Zarubitskii is coauthor of more than 650 scientific works, including a discovery, 5 monographs, over 230 inventor's certificates and patents for inventions. He has trained 1 Doctor and 10 Kandidats of Science.
Oleg Grigoryevich Zarubitskii was bom on 26 July 1936 in Borzna (Chemihiv region). His parents were representatives of the young inceptive Soviet intelligentsia. His father, Grigorii Pavlovich, who was bom on 15 October 1906 in the village Osipovka (Senno district, Vitebsk region), worked as the head of the land department of the district executive committee in Borzna. His mother, Praskovya Vasilyevna Madalits, who was bom on 18 Jule 1910 in Zhdanov (Donetsk region), was educated for medicine and worked at a kindergarten in Borzna. His parents married in 1933, which was the hardest year in Ukraine. In the same year, Praskovya Vasilyena’s father and mother died of starvation.
In 1934, Oleg Grigoryevich's brother Yurii was bom, and in 1939 his sister Nelya was bom. Among the ancestors of Oleg Grigoryevich are Ukrainians, Belarusians, Greeks.
In the first days of the Great Patriotic War, Oleg Grigoryevich's father went to the front, fought as senior political instructor, was killed in 1942 in the battles of Stalingrad. A heavy burden of bringing up three small children in the hard war-time fell on his mother, Praskovya Vasilyevna, therefore all children had to experience children's home life.
During and after the war, Oleg was brought up in children's homes in the Chernihiv region. In the war and post-war years, sufferings and hardships, which were immeasurably greater in comparison with adults, fell to the child's lot. In September 1951, he was sent, against his desire to continue education at the secondary school, to the industrial school in Zaporizhya. While in the senior classes of the secondary school Oleg was distinguished from his class-mates by a great erudition; he knew higher mathematics, was keen on chess, took part in competitions, had an official rating in chess. He went to the same class together with his future wife Lyudmila. In 1962 they married and lived together 43 fill the last days of Oleg Grigoryevich's life.
In 1955, after passing all entrance examinations with excellent marks, he was admitted to the chemical engineering faculty of the Kyiv Polytechnic Institute, from which he graduated with honors in 1960. Since that time, the further life and scientific activities of Oleg Grigoryevich was connected with the Institute of General and Inorganic Chemistry of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences.
He began to work under the guidance of the director of the Institute Yurii Konstantinivich Delimarskii, Member of the Ukrainian SSR Academy of Sciences, at the Department of Electrochemistry of Ionic Melts, at which he worked fill 1973. He carried out his first works together I.G. Pavlehko on the electrolytic separation of lead and bismuth in melts. At that time, the young research workers Yn.G. Roms, B.S. Belenkii, O.A. Salabai, Yu.Ye. Kosmatyi worked of the Department.
In 1964, the young research worked Valerii Grigoryevich Budnik began to work together with Oleg Grigoryevich; later on he became a skilful experimenter and co-author of almost a third of the scientific works and inventions of O.G. Zarubitskii. Their fruitful joint work in a tandem, the leader in which was always Oleg Grigoryevich, made it possible to carry interesting investigations in the field of electrochemistry of molten salts. It was no mere chance, therefore, that Academician Yu.K. Delimarskii and he became the first authors in Ukraine of the scientific discovery in chemistry "Phenomenon of metal transfer from the cathode to the anode in ionic melt electrolysis".
In 1965, after finishing the post-graduate course ahead of time, O.G.Zarubitskii defended a thesis for the degree of Kandidat of Chemical Sciences.
After the known decisions of the CPSU Central Committee in 1959, much attention was given in the former Soviet Union to the development of the chemical science. The deserts of Ukrainian chemists were acknowledged by the decision to build new buildings for institutes under the Ukrainian SSR Academy of Sciences. The IGIC of the Ukrainian SSR Academy of Sciences also moved to a new building at Novo-Belichanska 32-34; the labour conditions improved.
In January-February 1968, the first All-Union Conference on Electrolytic Refining Heavy Non-ferrous Metals in Salt Melts are held in which Oleg Grigoryevich took active part, e con erence recommended to charge the Institute of General and organic Chemistry of the Ukrainian SSR Academy of Sciences with All-Union coordination of research works on electrolytic methods for producing and refining heavy non-ferrous metals in Salt melts.
The practice of holding conferences with the participation of prominent specialists in electrochemistry, non-ferrous and ferrous me5tallurgy, machine building was continued. In various years, such conferences were held in Moscow, Leningrad, Sverdlovsk, Alma-Ata, Novosibirsk, Chimkent, Apatity, Chelyabinsk. Foreign colleagues, too, displayed a keen interest in the research results of the young scientist O.G. Zarubitskii, e.g. in processes of metal transfer in molten alkalis and salt compositions, separation of lead-bismuth alloys, refining of heavy non-ferrous metals.
In 1972, Oleg Grigoryevich defended a thesis for a doctor’s degree, and in 1973 he headed the Department of Molten Salt Electrolysis, which he directed 32 years.
In 1970-1972, the young research workers G.I. Mironyuk, B.F. Dmitruk, V.N. Gorbach, N.F. Zakharchenko, V.I. Melyokhin, A.A. Omelchuk, L.A. Minets joined the group headed by O.G. Zarubitskii. The range of the scientific problems at which the young research workers worked under the guidance of O.G. Zarubitskii extended.
The research workers of the department carried out investigations on the instructions of the State Committee of the USSR for Science and Technology and implemented economic agreements. In those years, the Presidium of the Ukrainian SSR Academy of Sciences set before the Institute tasks of bringing scientific developments into commercial practice. As early as before the official decisions of the leading bodies, O.G. Zarubitskii gave huge attention to bringing his developments to a commercial level. It was no mere chance that just for that reason a distinctive feature of the scientific investigations by O.G.Zarubitskii was the fact that the overwhelming majority of them were demanded in no time by the practice of industrial production. This fragment official trips to nonferrous metal, machine-building and aircraft works made it possible to develop nontrivial technologies, which have no Ukrainian and foreign analogs.
The cooperation with the plant "Electrotsink" in Grjonikidze, the integrated plant "Sikhali" in the Far East, the integrated tin plant in Novosibirsk, the integrated lead-zinc plant in Ust-Kamenogorsk, the plant "Elektrostal", and many other enterprises was successfiil. In the ore-dressing plant in Dalnegorsk, a department for the production of metallic bismuth of new improved grade. (Bi-lU) by a technology developed by O.G. Zarubitskii was built. The products of the plant were awarded a State Quality Mark. The technology was then brought to a commercial level by the integrated tin plant in Chimkent. The production of pure lead and bismuth by molten salt electrolysis, thin-layer indium refining, electrochemical and chemical removal of ceramics and burnt sand from investment castings, heat treatment of metal products, electropolishing, deposition of protective decorative coatings had been brought to a commercial level on the scale of a commercial on the scale of the branch for the first time in the practice of the nonferrous metallurgy of the former USSR.
The priority of the technological developments of O.G. Zarubitskii was recognized by the world's leading states, as evidenced by patents of industrially developed countries, such as Japan, Germany, Canada, Australia, etc.
This scientific achievements were generalised in five monographs, which appeared in the period from 1975 to 1989, and in a number of large reviews.
In addition to the investigations that were already under way, Oleg Grigoryevich extended the subjects of scientific works. Original investigations in the field of electrodeposition had been carried out. The result of these investigations was development and introduction at many plants of technologies for silver, copper, tin plating from cyanide-free electrolytes and electropolishing. The new technologies are environmentally safe and ensure electrodeposition of high-quality coatings on complex-shaped parts.
Under the guidance of Oleg Grigoryevich, highly efficient methods for the removal of various impurities (burnt sand, ceramics, scale, carbon deposits) from castings in alkali- and carbonate-based melts. Methods for the chemical, electrochemical, chemical-thermal treatment of the surface of errous and non-ferrous metals in ionic melts were proposed and brought into commercml practice. Automatic lines for the fettling of casting in melts, w ic are characterized by high technical-and-economic indices, had been brought to a commercial level at several machine-building plants.
Technology of chemical fettling of investment castings in molten electrolyte formed part of a complex development, which was transferred which license agreement to Poland and India. Four new salt compositions, the inflammation hazard to be avoided and improve amca properties of products, were proposed the heat treatment of tool steels and brought into commercial practice. Integrated process flow diagrams developed, which include the operations of chemical-thermal treatment, cleaning of the surface of steel billets and deposition of diffusion coatings with tailor-made properties and were brought to a commercial level at machine-building plants.
O.G. Zarubitskii created a new branch of high-temperature electrochemistry - pyroelectrometallurgy of heavy nonferrous metals in ionic melts. He proposed and developed basically new methods for the electrowinning of pure metals: cathodic and cathodic-anodic refining. The sinsularity of the new methods consists in the fact that the metal being refined is subjected to cathodic (and then anodic) polarization. As a result of intermetallide processes, impurities are extracted selectively at small electrical energy consumption, and the basic metal experiences no electrochemical conversions. The best known analogs that are used in industry require electrochemical transfer of the bulk of the metal refined (over 955%) from the anode to the cathode, which substantially increases the specific energy consumption and leads to long duration of the process step. The use of the new (electrochemically unusual) technology made it possible to reduce the time of the chemical-metallurgical conversion and electrical energy consumption by a factor of 10-20, to obtain a high-purity metal, and to extract selectively all valuable impurities as intermediate products suitable for the subsequent processing of low labour intensity.
O.G. Zarubitskii had introduced in industry for the fist time in world practice high-temperature electrolysis units for the electro winning and refining of non-ferrous metals in molten electrolytes, which ensure a high efficiency and a high purity of deposited metals at a small specific consumption of electrical energy and chemical reagents. A basically new approach to carrying out processes for the refining of polyvalent metals was proposed, to achieve the most favourable effect in electrolysis, one usually to attain a current efficiency that is close to the theoretical one (100 %). Contrary to these traditional ideas, it was shown that in some cases the optimal result is achieved when the mass exchange between the electrodes is effected only by impurity - metals, and that the metal being refined is not involved in the mass exchange.
This effect is based on peculiar use of redox reactions which proceed in electrochemical reactor and enable obtaining a high-purity metal at its minimal loss. The development of the theoretical concepts of the electrolysis of heterogeneous and hydrated melts made it possible to develop efficient technologies, which ensure acceleration of the process and 2-3-fold reduction in electrical energy consumption.
The regularities of the electrolysis of suspensions of intermetal lie compounds and oxides in ionic melts, thin films of molten salt mixtures in a porous diaphragm, hydrated melts (possessing the properties of both aqueous and high-temperature electrolytes) had been established and scientifically substantiated. In the field of high-temperature electrochemistry, the following main results have been obtained by O.G. Zarubitskii.
The physicochemical fundamentals of the separation of alloys and electrowinning of high-purity low-melting heavy metals in molten salts have been created.
- A theory of formation, electrotransfer from the cathode to the anode and decomposition of intermetallic compounds in ionic melts has been developed.
- The thermodynamics and kinetics of chemical reactions in molten oxide and sulphide mixtures have been studied.
- A theory of chemical and electrochemical finishing treatment of metal surfaces has been developed.
- The mechanism and kinetic regularities of electrode processes in numerous halide electrolytes, which are recommended for putting them into practice, have been investigated.
O.G. Zarubitskii has also carried out works which are of interest to general and inorganic chemistry:
- Helical form of the periodic system has been proposed.
- A regularity, which was unknown before, reflecting interrelation between the thermodynamic characteristics of reactions and their sequence has been established.
- High-temperature catalytic reactions in hydroxide and carbonate melts have been found and investigated.
- A thermodynamic substantiation of the concentration ranges of existence of metal subions and complexes in high-temperature electrolytes has been proposed.
O.G. Zarubitskii proposed a classification of electrochemical methods of refining (ordinary, cathodic, anodic, cathodic-anodic refining), which is now generally recognised. He has worked out the theoretical fundamentals of the last three methods. Criteria have been established which allow one to rationally choose one refining method or another, to effectively govern it, and to produce high-purity metals (indium, bismuth, lead, silver, tin, tellurium, gallium, antimony, etc).
Zarubitskii and co-workers have developed an original equipment for high-temperature chemical-metallurgical processes. Highly efficient electrolysers, plating baths with bipolar electrodes and thin-layer electrolytes, devices for fettling casting and producing non-metals (H2, Si, etc.) have been developed. Compositions of working melts een proposed, including thin-layer and double-layer electrolytes, which possess a high refining ability and rule out atmospheric pollution with toxic compounds.
A considerable contribution has also been made to the study of the corrosion stability of refractories, metals and alloys which are used as structural materials of industrial installations for the purification and treatment of ferrous and non-ferrous metals in salt melts. Almost all of these developments find application in plants of non-ferrous metallurgy, machine building and chemical industry.
O.G. Zarubitskii proposed an advanced method for producing hydrogen (a fuel of the future) by the electrolysis of spent steam of nuclear power stations in hydrated melts. The process and equipment developed increase the rate of hydrogen production by a factor of tens as against the electrolysis of aqueous solutions at a reduction of 15-20% in electrical energy consumption.
An economical method proposed the electrowinning in ionic melts of pure amorphous silicon powder, which is designed for the manufacture of solar batteries, is also of national economic importance. Chemical and electrochemical technologies, developed and brought into commercial practice, for the processing of secondary raw materials containing rare and disseminated metals, such as indium, gallium, tungsten, etc, are of considerable interest. An advanced technology for the extraction of tungsten- cobalt alloys and commercial diamonds from spent drilling tools has been developed and brought to a commercial level.
A salient feature of the comprehensive chemical technologies developed by O.G. Zarubitskii is that bringing them into commercial practice enabled: considerable saving of electrical energy, metals, chemical reagents and manpower resources, high mechanization and automation of processes, production of high-quality products, exclusion of recycles and process wastes, improvement of labor conditions and production standard. As a result of bringing new environmentally appropriate processes to a commercial level instead of processes used before, atmospheric and water reservoir pollution with the following toxicants: lead, mercury, chromium, tellurium, antimony, potassium cyanide, fine quartz dust, etc has been ruled out.
The results of theoretical and experimental research by O.G. Zarubitskii have been widely utilized in the development of basically new technologies and reactors, which have been introduced at more than 40 industrial enterprises in the former USSR and yield a considerable technical and economic and environmental protection effect.
During his work at the Institute, O.G. Zarubitskii worked his way up from engineer to assistant director in charge of research activities.
O.G. Zarubitskii combined fruitfully his scientific activities with scientific - organizational work. He was professor of the Department of General Chemistry of the Ukrainian Transport University, chairman of the scientific council on the problem "Electrochemistry" of the Ukrainian National Academy of Sciences, chairman of the specialized academic council at the IGIC of the Ukrainian National Academy of Sciences, member of the specialized academic on the defence of theses at the National Technical University "KPI".
The most important scientific achievements of O.G. Zarubitskii enter into textbooks and are reported in a number of monographs.
The merits Oleg Grigoryevich Zarubitskii were acknowledged by electing him in March 1985 Corresponding Member of the Ukrainian SSR Academy of Sciences. He was given more than once awards of the Exhibition of Economic Achievements of the USSR and the Exhibition of Progressive Innovations of the Ukrainian SSR. He was awarded with a Certificate of Honor of the Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian SSR; he was awarded the title of "Honored Scientist and Technologist of Ukraine".
Oleg Grigoryevich Zarubitskii died on 29 December 2005 after a serious prolonged illness, half a year before his 70th birthday.