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MARCELIAN FRANCIS GAUTREAUX, JR. 1930-1994 WRITTEN BY EDWARD MCLAUGHLIN SUBMITTED BY THE NAE HOME SECRETARY M ARCELIAN FRANCIS GAUTREAUX, TR., affectionately known as Bim to everyone, died on February 13, 1994, at the age of sixty-four. He was an extraordinarily inventive chemical engi- neer, who has left his mark on the chemical industry by development of new technologies and by the diversity of spe- cialty products developed under his leaclership. He was born in Nashville, Tennessee, on January 17, 1930, and attended Louisiana State University (LSU) for his chemi- cal engineering training. He graduated magna cum laucle in 1950 and completed his M.S. in 1951, after which he went to work for E thy] Corporation as a process engineer. He stayed at Ethyl until 1955, when he returned to LSU to pursue his Ph.D., which he completed in 195S. During this time he served as an instructor and assistant professor teaching a wide range of courses in chemical process engineering. The distinctiveness that was always to characterize his work was shown at this stage by a seminal paper with Dr. Jesse Coates on activity coeffi- cients at infinite dilution. His educational career at LSU was markocl by many distinctions, en cl his leadership potential by his attainment of the rank of cadet major in ROTC as well as office holder in the various student societies. On completion of his Ph.D., he returned to Ethyl Corpora- tion as head of the engineering and mathematical sciences section, from which springboard he was to advance rapidly ~03

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104 . MEMORIAL TRIBUTES through the managerial ranks of the corporation with which he was to spend his entire professional career. Dr. Gautreaux was the key figure, frequently the leader, and always the mentor in the development and commercialization of more than twenty new processes and products on which he held eight patents. Of these, the first was the oxychIorination of ethylene to produce ethylene dichloride from air, hydro- gen chloride, and ethylene. Ethyl was already producing viny! chloride by pyrolysis of ethylene dichloride. The value of the oxychlorination process was to make use of hydrogen chIo- ride by-product from the cracking operation to produce additional ethylene dichloride. This permitted a "balanced" vinyl chloride plant with no net hydrogen chloride produc- tion (with the rapid growth of vinyl chloride, hydrogen chloride production was outfacing demand and becoming a serious economic issue for viny! chloride producers.) This process was licensed to Solvay and ICT for worldwide use. A major step in the diversification of E thy! Corporation's product lines occurred with the commercialization of primary alcohol production by means of aluminum alky! chemistry. Dr. Gautreaux led the development of this challenging chem- ical process, including a unique step that permitted tailoring the product range much more closely to the clemands of the marketplace than did the conventional ethylene chain growth process. The aluminum alkyl chain growth chemistry was later expander! to include the production of linear alpha olefins in addition to primary alcohols. Again, Ethyl's process was able to control the distribution of C2 through C20 products to a much greater {legree than competitors. The chain growth chemistry plants now produce more than one billion pounds per year of linear alpha olefins and primary alcohols. During Dr. Gautreaux's tenure, Ethyl Corporation became a major supplier of specialty chemical products to the deter- gent, agricultural chemical, pharmaceutical, polymer, and related industries. Products developed and commercialized included alkyIdimethylamines and sodium alumina silicates for the detergent industry; dialkylanilines and various organic phosphorus compounds for the agricultural chemical indus- try; ibuprofen and other intermediates for the pharmaceutical

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MARCELIAN FRANCIS GAUTREAUX, JR. 105 industry; and orthoalkyled phenols, alkyldiamines, and organ- ic bromides for the polymer industry. Proprietary Ethyl processes were discovered and developed for all these prod- ucts. In a number of instances, Ethyl became the only supplier of the product worldwide. In organometallic chemistry, he led the development of new antiknock compounds such as mixed lead alkyls (terra ethyl methyl lead), a number of specialty aluminum alkyls, and pro duction of polysilicon for the semiconductor industry. In this polysilicon area, again new technology was the major thrust as it had been for vinyl chloride and chain growth of alcohols and olefins. The process to produce ultrapure silicon involved purity enhancement by distillation of an organic derivative of silicon, followed by subsequent pyrolysis in a fluidized bed to produce a granular product, which opens the way for effi- cient, continuous "pulling" of single-crystal silicon used for semiconductors. In all these areas of diversification of Ethyl from its reliance on tetraethyl lead, Dr. Gautreaux was the key figure. His win- ning personality and enthusiasm engendered the loyalty of his professional colleagues and instilled in all the will to succeed in technologically difficult chemistry and engineering. Not only was he fully involved in research, process development, and process design, but he was also active in the market re- search, market development, and contract negotiation phases for initial sale of most of these products on long-term con- tracts with user companies. Throughout this period of a very productive career, he ad- vanced rapidly from his initial appointment. In ten years he assumed the position of vice-president, research and develop- ment, in 1969 and then senior vice-president, research and development, in 1974. In 1972 he joined the board of direc- tors and when ill health forced him to scale back his activities in 1981, he was made adviser to the executive committee of the board. As was appropriate for such a distinguished record of achievement, Dr. Gautreaux was honored by many organiza- tions. These include Chemical Engineering magazine with its PACE Award for personal achievement in chemical engineer

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106 MEMORIAL TRIBUTES ing when that award was introduced in 1968. In 1976 he re- ceived the Charles E. Coates Memorial Award, which is given jointly by the Baton Rouge chapters of the Arr~erican Institute of Chemical Engineering en cl the American Chemical Society. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1977 and chaired the Chemical/Petroleum Engineering Peer Committee. He received the Chemical Marketing Research Association Memorial Award in 1978 for outstanding contri- butions to chemical marketing research, and his alma mater acicled to his honors by inducting him in 1979 as a charter member of its Engineering Hall of Distinction en c! awarding him an honorary doctorate of science in 1991. In 1981 he was elected a fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engi- neers. In 1987 E thy) Corporation, marking its centennial year, honored Dr. Gautreaux by endowing the M. F. Gautreaux/ E thy] Corporation Chair in Chemical Engineering at Louisi- ana State University. Apart from his professional life, Bim Gautreaux found time to assist in many community activities, including the Louisi- ana Arts and Science Center, of which he was a trustee, the LSU Founclation, and the board of directors of the Communi- ty Concerts Association. An evict and significantly better than average golfer, he hated coIcl weather and always looked for- ward to the coming of spring. To those who met him, Bim was a charming person who always greeted you with a large smile, a characteristic that en- dured even cluring his last days. He was a people person and cleeply committed to the sanctity of life. In 1952 he marriect Mignon Alice Thomas. He was a devoted family man and fa- ther to four children, Marc, Kevin, Marian, and Anciree. His summary of his life is contained in words he wrote elsewhere: "Any successes I have had are no more or less than the com- posite result of a supportive and loving wife and children, professional associates who have never let me down, a corpo- ration whose ethics are the highest, a religious heritage from my parents and early schooling, and some God-given talents for chemistry and engineering."

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