Stanislas Sorel

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Stanislas Sorel
Stanislas Sorel

3 February 1803
Died18 March 1871
EducationCivil engineer
Engineering career
DisciplineCivil engineering, chemistry
Significant designThermostated oven, hot dipping galvanization, zinc paint, zinc oxychloride, magnesium oxychloride, Sorel cement

Stanislas Sorel (born 1803, Putanges, France; died 18 March 1871, Paris) was a French civil engineer, inventor, and chemist, raised the son of a poor clock-maker. [1] [2]


A poorly known aspect of Sorel early works was the development of heating appliances. In 1833 he invented an apparatus able to regulate the combustion, and therefore the temperature, in an oven. It could be considered as a first rudimentary thermostat. He applied this principle to a commercial portable stove (‘Le Cordon Bleu’) to facilitate safe and unattended cooking in the home kitchens. From these very first developments, he was intrigued by the properties of different metals, a.o. these of zinc to protect steel against corrosion. [3]

Sorel filed a patent on 10 May 1837 for a "galvanic" method of protecting iron from rust by either coating it in a bath of molten zinc or by covering it with galvanic paint (cold galvanizing). This was the precursor of the modern hot-dip galvanizing. Sorel patent led to the industrial application and to the widespread use of the hot-dip galvanization process invented nearly one century earlier, in 1742, by the French physician and chemist Paul Jacques Malouin.

In 1857, Sorel patented a new type of paint based on zinc oxychloride and much less toxic than the then currently used lead-based paints containing ceruse, a basic carbonate of lead. [4]

In 1867, Sorel made a new form of cement from a combination of magnesium oxide and magnesium chloride, which had a remarkable capacity to bond with and contain other materials. [5] Sorel cement as it is known has been used for grindstones, tiles, artificial stone and even artificial ivory (e.g. for billiard balls). It is stronger than the more usual Portland cement.

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  1. Beach, Alfred Ely (1871). Stanislas Sorel. Sci. Am, 25, 151.
  2. Beach, Alfred Ely (1872). The Science Record. Munn. pp.  382.
  3. Spennemann, Dirk H.R. (2017). Advertisements for Stanislas Sorel’s portable stove ‘Le Cordon Bleu’ (1833–1849). A visual data set. Institute for Land, Water and Society Report nº 101. Albury, NSW: Institute for Land, Water and Society, Charles Sturt University. ISBN   978-1-86-467289-3
  4. Spennemann, Dirk H. R. (2020). "Stanislas Sorel's zinc-based paints". Transactions of the IMF. 98 (1): 8–13. doi:10.1080/00202967.2020.1698858. ISSN   0020-2967. S2CID   214413679.
  5. Stanislas Sorel (1867). "Sur un nouveau ciment magnésien". Comptes Rendus Hebdomadaires des Séances de l'Académie des Sciences, volume 65, pages 102–104.

Further reading