The Scientific War Work of Linus C. Pauling All Documents and Media  
Home | Search | Narrative | Linus Pauling Day-By-Day

All Documents and Media

Letter from J. Norton Wilson to John H. Yoe. March 9, 1943.
Wilson writes to summarize the current status of his group's research on the measurement of carbon monoxide.


March 9, 1943

Professor John H. Yoe

Cobb Chemical Laboratory

University of Virginia

University, Va.

Dear Professor Yoe:

Our belief that mixtures of air and carbon monoxide lose carbon monoxide on long standing over water is based on our experience that a mixture made up to, say, 100 parts per million, after standing over water in a rubber-stoppered glass bottle for times of the order of a week or so, produces negligible carbon monoxylation of oxyhemoglobin solutions, whereas a fresh mixture of carbon monoxide of the same concentration reacts as expected. We have observed this occurrence a number of times with mixtures ranging in 00 content from 100 to 500 p.p.m. but have not made any detailed study of the rate at which the carbon monoxide concentration decreases. Our gas mixtures are made up to the desired concentration since we could make up the mixtures with enough precision for our purpose.

We agree that more carbon-monoxide disappears than can be accounted for by solution in water, and are of the opinion that the carbon monoxide reacts with water to produce 003 and hydrogen. The free energy change favors this reaction at room temperature. Whether the reaction is catalyzed by the glass-water interface we do not know, but that is a possibility. I think it would be desireable [sic] to have rate measurements made, and to try to correlate them with the glass-air and the glass-water surface available and perhaps with the iron content of the glass. Our procedures are not well adapted to analysis of carbon monoxide gas mixtures since the rate of reaction with oxyhemoglobin is so low. If you find it possible to put a man on the problem I shall be very much interested in the results you obtain.

I regret that the information we have to offer is not more definite. Of there is anything further you would like to know about our experience with this matter please do not hesitate to write.

Sincerely yours,

J. Norton Wilson


Return to Document Page

Home | Search | Narrative | Linus Pauling Day-By-Day