Natalia M. Vedishcheva
Institute of Silicate Chemistry of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Nab. Makarova 2, St. Petersburg, 199034, Russia.
Adrian C. Wright
J.J. Thomson Physical Laboratory, University of Reading, Whiteknights, Reading, RG6 6AF, U.K.
In the West, D.I. Mendeleev is justifiably most famous for his development of the Periodic Law, leading to the well-known Periodic Table of the Elements, of which the year 2019 is the 150th anniversary of its presentation to the Russian Chemical Society in a lecture entitled The relationship between properties and atomic weight. What is not appreciated by the Western glass community, however, is that, among his other notable achievements, Mendeleev made significant contributions to glass science and technology, in addition to chemistry, physical chemistry, chemical technology, physics, metrology, geology, mineralogy, meteorology, instrument making, pedagogy, economics and agriculture.
An account will first be presented of the development of the Periodic Law (Periodic Table), and this will be followed by a description of his activities in relation to the vitreous state. Mendeleev devoted much attention to elucidation of the chemical nature of silicates, both in the crystalline and vitreous states. He considered it as axiomatic that considerations of the chemical composition and structure of glass cannot be separated from considerations of the chemical composition and structure of silicates which occur in nature. He regarded glasses as a non-crystallising or amorphous alloy (solid solution) of silicates. In developing his theory of indefinite chemical compounds, Mendeleev places glasses together with alloys and solutions. The idea of a glass-forming liquid as mutual solution became the basis for the development of the physical chemistry of silicates, and later thermodynamic modelling studies of glass properties at the Institute of Silicate Chemistry in St. Petersburg.