Journal of Materials Engineering and Performance

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 117–128

Henri Étienne Sainte-Claire Deville: A physician turned metallurgist

  • Jaime Wisniak
Historical Perspective

DOI: 10.1361/10599490418271

Cite this article as:
Wisniak, J. J. of Materi Eng and Perform (2004) 13: 117. doi:10.1361/10599490418271


Henri Étienne Sainte-Claire Deville (1818-1881) is well known for his work on metallurgy, on the separation and preparation of many metals on a large scale and in a very pure state, and developing the concepts and principles of the dissociation of gases. He was the first to prepare N2O5 in crystalline state and to develop an inexpensive process for the industrial manufacture of sodium and aluminum. Among the many metals he separated susccessfully are silicon, magnesium, platinum, iridium, osmium, manganese, and chromium. His development of the platinum-iridium alloy led to its adoption for manufacturing the meter and kilogram standards.


aluminumDevilledissociationiridium-rhodium alloymagnesiummetric standardssilicon

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© ASM International 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jaime Wisniak
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Chemical EngineeringBen-Gurion University of the NegevBeer-ShevaIsrael