Day 301/365 of Steel – Stanislas Sorel

Stanislas Sorel (born 3 February 1803, – died 18 March 1871) was a French civil engineer, inventor, and chemist. 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.

Hot-dip galvanizing
Fig 1: Hot-dip galvanizing
Photo: ZINQ Galva Power

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.

Galvanized Stairs
Fig 2: Galvanized Stairs
Photo: © Rory Gardiner

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.

Agrotopia Research Center for Urban Food Production
Fig 3: Agrotopia Research Center for Urban Food Production
Photo: © Filip Dujardin

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. The immersion of steel in a bath of liquid zinc leads to a ‘natural’ marriage between the two metals and offers optimum corrosion protection. 

About the Author:

Bruno Dursin – Managing Director at Believe in Steel. Bruno has more than 30 years of experience in promoting steel & steel solutions. His clients benefit from his extensive network within the building industry.

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