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Biographical entry Varcoe, Graeme Laurence (1937 - )

13 November 1937
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Research scientist and Industrial chemist


Graeme Laurence Varcoe worked out how to dehydrogenate pyridine as a step in the production of diquat, a broad spectrum herbicide. This concept also provided the basis for design of the full scale plant. Responding to the rapidly accelerating demand for urea formaldehyde resins for the particle board industry in the sixties, he radically modified the production process to achieve a ten-fold gain in productivity. Varcoe obtained an early patent on the oxychlorination of ethylene to vinyl chloride, which led to the world's first commercialisation of the process, at ICIANZ Botany site, for which he was the plant commissioning superintendent.

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Rosanne Walker