August 9, 2005
Robert L. Peaslee, known as "the father of nickel brazing," will be the interviewee at the American Welding Society's (AWS) Interview with a Legend session to be held at 10:00 a.m. November 15 as part of a series of programs and events scheduled at the FABTECH International/AWS Welding Show in Chicago.
That afternoon, in the same room, a Brazing & Soldering Commercial Session will feature representatives of firms that make brazing and soldering equipment. They will discuss the latest progress in these processes, and the translation of new knowledge into state-of-the-art, commercially available equipment.
Peaslee earned a degree in chemical engineering at the University of Cincinnati in 1940. He worked at Curtiss Wright Corp. as a metallurgist during World War II. He transferred to the firm's mechanical research division after the war, and then to engineering, becoming the welding engineer in charge of fabrication development on jet engines.
While at Curtiss Wright, Peaslee decided to furnace braze a test specimen of Colmonoy 6, a nickel alloy from Wall Colmonoy Corp., Madison Heights, Mich. At 2,000 degrees F, the alloy successfully brazed jet engine parts together—a process that became known as diffusion brazing.
In 1950 Peaslee joined Wall Colmonoy, where he promoted and developed high-temperature and high-quality structural brazing throughout the jet engine industry. In 1951 he coauthored the first Welding Journalpaper on nickel brazing, and during the 1950s he was involved in creating a brazing alloy specification.
Peaslee established the first commercial job shop for nickel brazing aircraft components and was instrumental in expanding the operation to eight facilities. He taught the ASM Brazing Technology course from 1973 to 1996. In 1970 he established the Wall Colmonoy Modern Furnace Brazing course and continues to be a main instructor.
In 1970, Peaslee organized the first AWS Brazing Conference, held each year in conjunction with the Welding Show. He started the first and only Brazing and Soldering Division of AWS, under the Detroit Welding Section.
A guest speaker at many events, Peaslee received the AWS National Meritorious Certificate Award in 1980. He is a Fellow of the AWS, Class of 1991, and he delivered the 1991 Comfort A. Adams Lecture. A life AWS member, he has received the Gold Certificate as a 50-year member. He also is a life member of ASM Intl. and a member of ASTM Intl. and the American Chemical Society. For many years, Peaslee has authored a magazine column. A compilation of these columns was published as a book, Brazing Footprints: Case Studies in High-Temperature Brazing.