Hendrik Willem Bakhuis Roozeboom

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H. W. Bakhuis Roozeboom
Hendrik Willem Bakhuis Roozeboom.jpg
H. W. Bakhuis Roozeboom
Born October 24, 1854
Alkmaar, Netherlands
Died February 8, 1907 (1907-02-09) (aged 52)
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Nationality Dutch
Fields chemistry
Alma mater University of Leiden
Known for physical chemistry
Influences J. D. van der Waals
J. Willard Gibbs
Fe- C Phase Diagram, H.W.B. Reozeboom, The Metallographist, 3, 293-300(1900).

H. W. Bakhuis Roozeboom (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈɦɛndrɪk ˈʋɪləm ˈbɑkɦœy̯s ˈroːzəˌboːm], October 24, 1854 – February 8, 1907) was a Dutch chemist who gained his reputation for works on phase behaviour in physical chemistry.

H. W. Bakhuis Roozeboom (originally "Bakhuys Roozeboom") was born in Alkmaar in the Netherlands. Financial difficulties did not allow him to directly pursue a university education, and he left school to work in a chemical factory for some time. Due to support from his mentor, J. M. van Bemmelen, he became an assistant at the University of Leiden in 1878, which enabled him to start his academic education there. In 1881 he became a teacher at a girls school, and in 1884 he obtained his PhD with works on the hydrates of acids. J. D. van der Waals introduced him to the theoretical works of J. Willard Gibbs on the phase rule which so far had little experimental verification in chemistry, prompting him to start a lifelong research programme on phase equilibria. In 1896, he became professor for chemistry in Amsterdam, where he died on February 8, 1907.[1]

His main work was in the field of thermodynamics, in which he studied the equilibrium of multiple-phase systems. The theoretical foundations for this were laid by J. Willard Gibbs with his phase rule, but Roozeboom would be the one to apply the theory and demonstrate its usefulness. He is mainly remembered for his melting phase diagrams of metal alloys, i.e. studying how mixtures of metals melt depending on the relative amounts of the components, which is important for metallurgy. Roozeboom also was the first to plot ternary phase equilibria in two-dimensional plots that were taken as vertical or horizontal slices from the three-dimensional solid diagrams. These are termed, respectively, isopleths and isotherms. He also contributed to the science of chiral substances, clarified how to distinguish the different types of crystalline racemates and predicted how mixtures of enantiomers behave in a heterogeneous system of solid and solution.[2]

In 1890 Bakhuis Roozeboom became a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.[3] Roozeboom succeeded J. H. van't Hoff at the University of Amsterdam. In 1904, he published the first volume and first part of the second volume of the multi-volume treatise on heterogeneous equilibria entitled Die Heterogenen Gleichgewichte von Standpunkte des Phasenlehre "Heterogeneous Equilibria from the Phase Rule Viewpoint."

In 1911, the Bakhuys Roozeboom Fund was established in his honour; every four years it awards a gold medal for research on phase theory.

Roozeboom and The Fe-C phase diagram[edit]


Josiah_Willard_Gibbs's theoretical work on thermodynamic concepts had at that time not gained wide acceptance and conversely the idea that an equilibrium phase diagram would become a meaningful concept in physical theory. Published over the period from 1876 to 1878, Gibbs' treatise was delayed in its acceptance for two reasons: first, The Transactions of the Connecticut Academy of Science Scientific_Papers_of_Josiah_Willard_Gibbs,_Volume_1 was hardly ever read by scientists outside the United States. Second, Gibbs' mathematical treatment was abstruse and thus beyond comprehension for many people--including some of the better scientific minds of the time. However, one who did appreciate the importance of what Gibbs had done was James_Clerk_Maxwell, to whom Gibbs had written on occasion. Unfortunately, Maxwell died in 1879, soon after the appearance of Gibbs' papers and could neither publicize them as they deserved nor show how brilliantly Gibbs had unified so much of physical chemistry under the broad umbrella of classical thermodynamics. However, before his death, Maxwell did discuss Gibbs' work with Johannes_Diderik_van_der_Waals, who passed it on to Roozeboom. This explains how Roozeboom got such an early start on using Gibbs' phase rule to convert T-x diagrams into bona fide phase diagrams. Roozeboom soon logged a number of remarkable successes in this endeavor while Roberts-Austen continued improving his First Diagram. When the improved version of Roberts-Austen was published in the 1899 and Roberts-Austen invited Roozeboom to modify it in accordance with Gibbsian thermodynamical considerations. The image is considered by authors to be the first binary equilibrium diagram for the Fe-C system because it conforms to the Gibbs' phase rule.


  1. ^ J. M. van Bemmelen, W. P. Jorissen, W. E. Ringer, Berichte der Deutschen Chemischen Gesellschaft, 1907, 40, 5141.
  2. ^ H. W. B. Roozeboom, Zeitschrift für Physikalische Chemie, Stöchiometrie und Verwandtschaftslehre, 1899, 28, 494-517.
  3. ^ "Hendrik Willem Bakhuis Roozeboom (1854 - 1907)". Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 26 July 2015.