Hermann Zorn

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Hermann Albert Friedrich Zorn (born January 24, 1896 in Hamburg , † October 6, 1983 in Mannheim ) was a German chemist.


After serving as a soldier in World War I , he passed his Abitur in Hamburg and began studying chemistry at the TH Dresden . In 1923 he received his doctorate from the TH Dresden as Dr. Ing. Under king. Shortly afterwards he married Hertha Köhncke, and their son Walther was born in 1924. In 1926 he joined IG Farben at the Ludwigshafen-Oppau plant (later BASF ) as a researcher. The birth of their son Martin followed in 1928. In 1938, Zorn began research at the IG Farben plant in Leuna . In 1945 he was relocated to Rosenthal / Frankenberg (Eder) district and then interned briefly in England .

In 1947 he started at a Swiss chemical company, where he was involved in the development of the synthetic fiber Grilon . In 1955 he was appointed professor for chemical technology of organic substances at the Vienna University of Technology , where he was later a full professor. In 1956 he married Wilma Loeb. In 1968 he retired. In 1969 he was awarded the Silver Cross of Merit of the Republic of Austria by the Federal President .


During his activities at IGFarben in Oppau and Leuna, he developed important patented processes for the synthesis of lubricating oils , on which further international developments were based after the Second World War . This process was used intensively in Germany during the Second World War because access to crude oil was limited and the development of synthetic lubricating oils with different viscosity properties made it possible to use machines even in cold regions.

In the Swiss company now known as Ems-Chemie , Zorn played a key role in developing the idea of ​​producing the new synthetic fiber Grilon, which was similar to the nylon that was emerging at the time . However, Switzerland was prohibited from importing this fiber for political reasons.

Technochemie GmbH Verfahrenstechnik , which he co-founded in the 1950s, was later sold to other groups ( Boots , Shell ) and is now part of Degussa AG.

Patents (selection)

  • Zorn, Hermann; Petrovicki, Herbert. Ester oils suitable as heavy duty lubricants. Ger. (1975), 2 pp. DE 1593576 19750528
  • Zorn, Hermann; Petrovicki, Herbert; Kirsch, Kurt. Ester oils suitable as heavy duty lubricants. Ger. (1973), 2 pp. DE 1593575 19731011
  • Zorn, Hermann. Catalytic hydrogenation of polyisobutylenes. Ger. Open. (1971), 4 pp. DE 1945361 19710318
  • Mark, Hermann; Petrovicki, Herbert; Zorn, Hermann. Highly polymeric thermoplastic material of metallic properties. Ger. Open. (1970), 17 pp. DE 1912427 19701001
  • Zorn, Hermann. m-xylene. Neth. Appl. (1969), 5 pp. Addn. to Neth. Appl. 65 15126. NL 6809824 19690114
  • Petrovicki, Herbert; Schaffernak, Friedrich; Zorn, Hermann. Diesel fuel additives. (1966), 1 p. DE 1211022 19660217
  • Zorn, Hermann; Kirsch, Kurt. Synthetic lubricants. Ger. (1966), 2 pp. DE 1225163 19660922
  • Zorn, Hermann; Frank, Gerhard. Ester for use as a heavy-duty lubricant. (1965), 2 pp. DE 1186042 19650128
  • Rossig, Lisa; Zorn, Hermann. Heavy-duty lubricants. (1954), DE 919312 19541018

Early work:

  • Mittasch, Alwin; Zorn, Hermann. Catalysts suitable for hydrocarbon conversion, etc. (1933), US 1895764 19330131
  • Zorn, Hermann; Muller-Cunradi, Martin; Rosinsky, Walter. Lubricating oils. (1930), DE 565249 19300326
  • Galle, Ernst; Zorn, Hermann. Converting high-boiling hydrocarbons into low-boiling ones. (1928), DE 526626 19280205
  • v. Pongratz, Emmerich; Zorn, Hermann. Oil from residues. (1928), DE 525669 19280424


  • Eilhard Jantzen: The Origins of Synthetic Lubricants: The Work of Hermann Zorn in Germany, Part 1, Basic Studies of Lubricants and the Polymerization of Olefins , Journal of Synthetic Lubrication, 12. 1996, No. 4, pp. 283-301.
  • Herman Zorn: That was my life , unpublished manuscript, Mannheim 1983.