11.3.1819 Paris/F - 17.2.1904 Paris/F
Alexandre Arson graduated in 1841 from Ecole Centrale in Paris after having attended lectures at Ecole Nationale des Arts et Manufactures, and stayed throughout his career with the city services of the capital, at the end as a chief engineer. Throughout his life he was associated with the French Association of Civil Engineers, of which he was the vice president in the term 1876/77.
Arson was particularly interested in air flow in long conduits, as applied in the first railroad tunnels. Pierre Girard (1765-1836) appears to have been the first that investigated that question in 1821 in small pipes, whereas Jean-François d'Aubuisson (1769-1841) experienced with larger pipe diameters, yet without a final computational approach. At that time, the effect of surface roughness on the head losses remained unconsidered, resulting in large deviations from later measurements. Next, Eugène Péclet (1793-1857) tried in vain in his 1843 Traité to tackle that question, but failed according to Arson again. Arson, then a chief engineer of the Metropolitan engineering company of Paris, adopted a head loss equation that contained both the linear and the quadratic velocity terms in which the two coefficients were determined experimentally. He published tables that were used by engineers to design the pumping capacity required and that were later used also for large tunnels such as the Saint-Gotthard in Switzerland. Arson published in 1876 a paper on a novel anemometer to measure air velocities in pipes whose principle was based on a local contraction. In the late 1870s, he took also interest in the first motors developed for aviation, and proposed his own design.
Anonymous (1854). Die Wassermessapparate von Arson. Dinglers Journal 134(22): 248-259. Arson, A. (1863). Expériences sur l'écoulement des gaz en longues conduites. Mémoires Société des Ingénieurs Civils de France 20: 537-581, with computational tables.
Arson, A. (1876). Anémomètre: Mesure de la vitesse du vent. Mémoires Société des Ingénieurs Civils de France 29: 505-520.
Arson, A. (1879). Etude sur le propulseur pour l'aviation. Mémoires Société des Ingénieurs Civils de France 32: 1-24.
Cornuault, E. (1904). Alexandre Arson. Mémoires et Comptes Rendus des Ingénieurs Civils de France 57(1): 242-244.
Magnoux, N. (2004). Alexandre Arson. Personal communication. Ecole Centrale: Paris. P
Poggendorff, J.C. (1898). Arson, Alexandre. Biographisch-Literarisches Handwörterbuch
3: 44. Barth: Leipzig, with bibliography.

Hydraulicians in Europe 1800-2000 . 2013.

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