Ernst Trommsdorff, Chemist

The Plastic Researcher

Research director and executive director of Röhm & Haas GmbH


* 1905, Berlin

† 1996, Essen

Ernst Trommsdorff came from a family of scientists, and spent his early years in Danzig, before graduating from high school in Hanover. He then studied chemistry at Hanover Technical College and Freiburg University, gaining his doctorate in 1932 with his dissertation entitled "On polyacrylic acids, a protein model" under future Nobel prizewinner Hermann Staudinger.

In 1933 Ernst Trommsdorff joined Röhm & Haas AG as a chemist working on the scientific and technical synthetic processing. After the death of the company's founder Otto Haas in 1939, he took over as director of chemical research. In 1954 he was finally appointed assistant executive director of Röhm & Haas, becoming a full executive director in 1956.

On the basis of the seminal new findings of Professor Staudinger's study group concerning macromolecular compound creation, Ernst Trommsdorff was instrumental in the reorientation of scientific thinking and internal procedure at Röhm & Haas. He created new production methods for suspension, emulsion and block polymerization that are still in use today. Important new findings on the polymerization process include the discovery of the "Trommsdorff Effect", which was named after him. He retired in 1970 after 37 years with Röhm & Haas.

Ernst Trommsdorff is named as inventor and co-inventor in some 250 domestic and foreign patents and was active on many committees in chemical trade associations and societies. He was awarded the Order of Merit Cross of the Federal Republic 1st Class for his achievements in research and industrial practice.

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