MARTIN MARTENS Botany, galvanism, and inorganic chemistry

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Martin Martens (1797-1863) was a Belgian chemist and botanist who studied the oxychlorides obtained by the action of chlorides on metal oxides, and the theory regarding their formation. Chlorine decomposed calcium chloride at a temperature below 200 oC and calcium hydroxide at a lower temperature. In the presence of water the bleaching compounds generated by the combination of chlorine and alkaline oxides, behaved under all circumstances as the less stable combinations of chlorine with the alkaline bases. Oxychlorides acted upon
vegetable and animal substances more or less in the same manner as free chlorine. Oxychlorides were very unstable and could exist only in solution. Martens also studied the phenomena associated with galvanism and electrolytic cells. He proved that simple contact between two heterogeneous bodies, without chemical reaction, was able to develop electricity. He also confirmed the fact that the electromotive force of metals acted in the same direction as the electromotive force of acid liquid conductors. He studied the phenomena observed when boiling an aqueous solution of HCl and the phenomenon of azeotropism, well before it was definitely interpreted. According to Martens, all coloring phenomena taking place in leaves could be explained by admitting that chlorophyll contained two coloring substances, one blue and the other yellow, which could form separately in different cells. These coloring substances were probably transported to the surface of the plant by aqueous transpiration. Martens also developed a two-stage analytical procedure for the chemical-legal analysis of wheat flour.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-137
Number of pages15
JournalRevista CENIC. Ciencias Quimicas
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2019


  • bleaching; chlorophyll
  • leaves coloration
  • galvanism
  • oxichlorides
  • wheat fluor


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