While Professor David P. Dewitt influenced some of my work in Radiation Thermometry, I didn’t meet him or Gene Nutter until I had been in the field for nearly a dozen years.
Being a physics graduate with several degrees does not automatically grant one a knowledge of Radiation Thermometry, however. I had to learn the gruesome details in on-the-job training; it was a lot more than classroom learning and continues, even today. But I had a lot of help along the way from many people.
The first experiences I had was when I was a graduate student at Northeastern University. A fellow student and I had written a US Patent application for a combined induction heating + pulsed magnetic field compression method for welding metal pipes or tubes together. We had raised some money with much help from some friends and outfitted a small workshop near Boston to develop and test a welding machine.
We purchased an electronic, non-contact temperature instrument from a California company and were able to “Calibrate” it by monitoring the heating rate of a short length of steel pipe in an induction heating coil. When a steel pipe reached the Curie Temperature, the heating rate abruptly slowed and we dialed the emissivity correction to a value that matched the indicated temperature to that for the Curie point of Iron.
It was remarkably repeatable and we got very good at measuring the surface temperature of steel. That experience never left me, but a little later I left the organization we had created and went seeking a new entrepreneurial adventure. The Land Pyrometer Ltd. found me and my miniscule experience with radiation pyrometry.
My first serious lessons were at the desk of Tom Land, a Cambridge University educated physicist and Managing Director of Land Pyrometers Ltd in the UK, at the time, (now known as Land Instruments International Ltd, a unit of Ametek) shortly after I had joined the firm’s USA subsidiary in 1971. I still have in my personal library a photocopy of his unpublished monograph on Radiation Pyrometry along side Mike Rucklidge’s detailed notes on simple pyrometer design items and applications.
Good thing I knew Planck’s Law and something about triple integrals and some of the vagaries of spectral emissivity!
I sat on the production line for a week learning instrument assembly techniques from a master mechanic, Ron Short. Then the calibration laboratory for an amazing series of learning experiences at the feet of a master calibration expert (and member of a local Gilbert & Sullivan theatre group in Sheffield) the incredible and unforgettable, Dick Nicholson.
Dick’s successors, David Cresswell and Michael E. Brown, were no less capable and competent, but neither make points with the quite the same flair that Dick did, of that I am sure they would agree!
Then I got to know and learn from the incredible physicists and managers that worked at Lands. Men whose talents, patience and brilliance still amaze me today. I’ll never forget the lessons learned from Roy Barber, Eric Land, David Coe, Steve Whisker, Gary Plowman, Don Bell, Percy Wilenski, Keith Moore, Marwood Dingle, David Cresswell and Mike Rucklidge. Add that to hand-holding trips with some of them to manufacturing plants in the UK & USA and I got a crash course in real-world applications of radiation pyrometer – soon to be called thermometers.
Later I worked with Land’s newer staff physicists Geoff Beynon, Peter J. Kirby, and Ian Ridley on several technical and technical marketing developments and learned just how much I didn’t know, especially about low and high emissivity surfaces in hotter environments.
Then in the USA, I met and came to know and learn concepts and approaches to problem solving from people like Don Nielsen (Land), Dave DeWitt (Purdue Univ.), Gene Nutter (U. Wisconsin), Bob Shepard (Oak Ridge), Bob Benedict (Westinghouse), Ray Mouly (PPG), Tony Martocci (Bethlehem Steel), Jeff Tapping, (CSIRO Australia) Bill Burton (Armco Steel), Art Goldberg (Ircon), Gary (Igor) Shubinsky (Ircon), Pete King (Raytek), Fred Richards (Armco Steel), Phil Bliss (Pratt & Whitney), Fred Mihalow (Bethlehem Steel), Mike Haugh (Kaiser Aluminum), Greg McIntosh (AGA Thermovision), Al Tenney (Leeds & Northrup), Martin Reilly (NIST), Dave White (Inland Steel), Sid Ween (Everready), K. Irani (Mikron), Paul Grover (Infraspection), Ray Dils (NIST), Richard Gagg (Land), Jim Love (Land), Warren Holmes (Holmes Associates), Paul Nordine (R&D), Shankar Krishnan (R&D), Chuck Brookley (Thermogage), Ralph Rudolph (US Steel), Ralph Felice (Republic Steel), Ed Matthews (Pyrometer Instruments,), Walter Glockmann (Heimann), Dick Marshall (Warren Associates), Herb Kaplan (Barnes Engineering), Chuck King (Corning), Ed Murphy (Corning) and Roger Holman (Corning), to name but a few.
Each of these memorable people helped me learn something more about the science of radiation thermometry, thermal imaging, temperature measurement and the art of applications.
Rodger Holman, for instance, upon his retirement from active consulting for Corning Glass works sent me his entire copy of the Thermal Radiation Properties of Matter, Volumes 7, 8 & 9 by Touloukian & DeWitt. I have hope that I may be able to obtain permission and find the time to put the entire set of data and references online here.
My understanding of calibration and QA while a member of the LTV Steel Company Technology Center grew almost exponentially and helped solve some really significant temperature measurement problems in steel production, putting into action my experiences and lessons learned about traceable calibration, under demanding conditions.
I had great help & support from fellow LTVers Ken Mondack, Jim Mates, George R Eiremann, Norman Bresky, Harry H Hatters, Gabe Nelson, Peter Blossey, Frank Erfurth, Tony Rovito, Prakash Hegde, Brian Silverstein, Wau Tan Chu, Joe Bushi and many others.
To these, some of whom have passed on, and the many others whose names I somehow have forgotten, thank you for your help along the way. You may not know it, but you made my trip through radiation pyrometry a great educational experience and a lot of fun at times – very satisfying.