Posts Tagged ‘Mauveine’

The colour of purple is … not orange but mauve?

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011
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My previous post on the topic of mauveine left the outcome dangling. Put simply, λmax is measured at about 549nm for mauveine A, but was calculated at about 440nm using a modern method for predicting colour (TD-DFT). According to the colour table below, that would make it orange, not mauve. Can the theoretical prediction be out by 110nm, or might it be the structure of the molecule itself that has been wrongly described?
colour table

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The colour of purple

Thursday, February 24th, 2011
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One of my chemical heroes is William Perkin, who in 1856 famously (and accidentally) made the dye mauveine as an 18 year old whilst a student of August von Hofmann, the founder of the Royal College of Chemistry (at what is now  Imperial College London). Perkin went on to found the British synthetic dyestuffs and perfumeries industries. The photo below shows Charles Rees, who was for many years the Hofmann professor of organic chemistry at the very same institute as Perkin and Hofmann himself, wearing his mauveine tie. A colleague, who is about to give a talk on mauveine, asked if I knew why it was, well so very mauve. It is a tad bright for today’s tastes!

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