I'm currently researching the history of azeotropic mixtures for an essay, and I've come across some interesting information. The term "azeotrope" was coined in 1911 by English chemists John Wade and Richard William Merriman. This term is derived from the Greek words ζέειν (boil) and τρόπος (turning) with the prefix α- (no), creating the overall meaning of "no change on boiling."

The earliest documented evidence of azeotropes dates back to 1911, as found in the Journal of Chemical Society. However, it is believed that azeotropic mixtures were known before this time, possibly before 1910, although concrete historical records or publications from that period are scarce.

While there is a general acknowledgment of azeotropic mixtures existing prior to 1910, it is challenging to find specific information on their discovery. It's worth noting that the term itself was only formally introduced in 1911, which may explain the limited historical documentation.

I would appreciate any insights or references related to the discovery of azeotropic mixtures before 1910 if you have come across any reliable sources. Thank you!

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  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Whether someone had a name for it, I’d say the concept has been known for as long as distilling liquor has been done. $\endgroup$
    – Jon Custer
    Jan 19 at 16:52
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ You might try instead History of Science and Mathematics SE. I can migrate this there if you like. $\endgroup$
    – Buck Thorn
    Jan 19 at 19:51


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