Leonid Andrussow

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Leonid Andrussow 1933
Andrussov's signature on an April 25, 1931 report on the manufacture of HCN
Leonid Andrussow in 1977

Leonid Andrussow (born November 28, 1896 in Riga , † December 15, 1988 near Paris ) was a German chemical engineer. He developed the named after him method for the production of hydrocyanic acid by the oxidation of ammonia and methane.


Leonid Andrussow was born in Riga, the capital of Latvia. His father Woldemar was a lawyer, his mother's name was Caroline Ulmann, and they had 9 children. The name "Andrussow" is probably the Russified form of the Swedish name "Anderson". He graduated from the University of Riga with a degree in chemical engineering. During the times of the Russian Revolution he fought against the communists. After his capture, he was sent to a Cheka prison in Moscow. The release was probably made possible by relatives in Germany. He went to Berlin-Charlottenburg and received his doctorate in chemistry from the Technical University of Charlottenburg in 1925 under Walter Nernst . In 1927 he began his practical work in the ammonia laboratory of BASF , then IG Farben , in Ludwigshafen-Oppau and lived in Mannheim. From 1946 he lived in Grenoble, later in Paris. He also worked for the Zimmer company in Frankfurt am Main. From 1975 to 1981 he lived in Mannheim-Feudenheim, but then moved back to Paris. He died near Paris at the age of 92.


  • Based on the theory of rapid catalytic processes developed in 1927, the oxidative synthesis of hydrogen cyanide from ammonia and methane was discovered in 1930 and made ready for operation. This process, now known as the “ Andrussow process ”, is the most important method for the large-scale production of hydrogen cyanide as a precursor for polyamide 66 ( nylon ) and acetone cyanohydrin as a precursor for polymethyl methacrylate (Plexiglas).
  • 1932 Work on catalytic alkylation using ethers for the large-scale production of the purest dimethylaniline.
  • Conversion of tetrachloroethane to methyl chloride and trichlorethylene.
  • Numerous works on rocket fuels, u. a. the introduction of the system of nitric acid and amines or other fuels. Collaboration in the development of the retribution weapon 2 (V2) in Stromberg. Adding nitrous oxide to rocket fuels to significantly increase airspeed at high altitudes.
  • Advisory activity in France related to the further development of the theory of catalytic processes: sulfuric anhydride, formaldehyde, ammonia synthesis.
  • Extensive studies of the transport properties of gases and liquids, including macromolecules.
  • Author of a volume of the Landolt-Börnstein table work .


  • Patent US1934838 : Production of hydrocyanic acid. Registered on April 6, 1931 , published on November 14, 1933 , applicant: IG Farbenindustrie AG, inventor: Leonid Andrussow ( pdf ).

Web links

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