Cellular glass heroes Part 1

belglasIn this series of blogs, I will remember the work of some previous cellular glass workers and thinkers. They all took once a big risk to fail and were in that way important in the evolution of cellular glass. For some legal reasons, I cannot mention people, still at work in cellular glass.

Louis Troussart was an expert in the annealing of (cellular) glass as an employee of St. Gobain Glass and a cellular glass manufacturer. Some years ago, he passed away as a well respected man. The reasons for that are obvious:

  • Louis was the first to find out that glass has a thermal history. Indeed, by measuring carefully the thermal expansion for different cooling rates, he proved that the physical properties of glass are dependent on the cooling history.
  • Later on, he moved to cellular glass and did important published work with finite elements. He optimized for example the guarded hot plate for the measurement of the thermal conductivity.
  • Many other work cannot be mentioned because it is not public domain

Charles Beerten, an exponent of accuracy was a chemist working on the glass composition. Today, cellular glass with the best thermal conductivity is produced with “his” glass composition in Europe, China and the USA. Also in his case, most of his work is not public domain. Charles became retired against his will and lives in the “Ardennen” in the south of Belgium.

pierrePierre Gérard, a smart and fast mechanical civil engineer was also an efficient cost cutter. Pierre understood very fast that the most efficient cost cutting was improving the process. He was an enormous support for me, especially when the tunnel seemed endless long. His father, Paul Gérard was the collaborator of Louis Troussart during the discovery of the thermal history of glass. Pierre is retired and is spending his time with travelling with his wife.

Hugo Frederix, a typical self made man, checked in hardware mode the ideas of the above and also participated to a paper about the stability of cellular glass, like mentioned in a previous post. Hugo lives in Limburg in the east of Belgium.

josJos Bellens, a laboratory chemist passed away much too early. His important R&D work is not public domain but in his second career, he became an outstanding safety engineer. I will never forget him.

Albert Van der Heyden, production engineer and self made man, was an expert in tuning a foaming furnace for the carbon black process with the necessary reducing atmosphere. Albert made once an important experiment, which ignited the continuous foaming process project. Albert is retired and lives in Meldert, Lummen as the very best grandfather.

marcMarc Kolenberg was about everything: electronic, electrical and mechanical engineer, software developer and most of all production manager for cellular glass. Marc did not know any limit to reach what he considered as possible. Without him, my largest project should never run. Marc is retired and lives close to Diest with his family and dogs.

robertRobert Havel started as a worker and became production manager of the cellular glass factory, producing the highest quality ever. After having done the startup of a cellular glass factory in China, Robert´s ambition drove him in another direction. He lives in Klasterec Nad Ohri in the Czech Republic with the lovely Jitka Havlova and their child.

jeanJean Melchior, a civil engineer from Luxemburg is known as an extremely strong marketeer for cellular glass. He understood very early the importance of ecology for the thermal insulation world. Not cost cutting but ecology was his drive to support me for my largest project. From him, I got the nice title “free electron”, although that property let him explode many times. Jean is retired against his will and lives in the center of Belgium, studying Machiavelli.

 

 

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