Professor Dr.-Ing. Walter Brockmann

The Society for Adhesion & Adhesives
,
4 Jul 2011

It is with deep regret that we have to announce the death of Professor Dr.-Ing. Walter Brockmann.

Walter Brockmann, who in his latter days was an emeritus professor in the FB Maschinenbau und Verfahrenstechnik Arbeitsgruppe Werkstoff- und Oberflächentechnik at Kaiserslautern University, died on 14 June 2011 at the age of 72.

Walter was very well known to all those involved in the field of adhesion and adhesives around the world. He was a well respected speaker and questioner at the Adhesion conferences in the UK and was intimately involved in gettiong the Euradh conferences off the ground.

Dr. Lou Sharpe, editor of the Journal 'Adhesion', recalls his last communication with Walter who, when commenting on his retirement, said "Now I enjoy my freedom, to decide during a good breakfast, what I would like to do during the day. At this time some problems with my heart restrict this freedom, but my doc is resolute to repair my health."

His knowledge, wit and humour wil be sorely missed.

We are indebted to his colleague at Kaiserslautern, Paul Ludwig Geiß, for the following obituary. Paul writes:

"Prof. Dr.-Ing.
Walter Brockmann passed away unexpectedly in Kaiserslautern on 14 June 2011. We have lost a pioneer and mentor in adhesive bonding technology and also a first-class university professor who was admired and respected in his field both nationally and internationally.

Walter Brockmann was born in Göttingen in 1939. Both his parents were chemists. His father was director of the Institute of Organic Chemistry at the Georg-August University in Göttingen until 1972 and was well
known, amongst other things, for developing a standardized aluminium oxide for the chromatographic separation of complex mixtures of substances. The understanding of interactions at interfaces, which also play a central role in adhesion mechanisms, seems quite literally to have been inherited by Walter Brockmann. Instead of studying chemistry like his elder brother (Hans Brockmann), he went on to study mechanical engineering at the University of Hannover. After graduating in 1966 he worked as a
research associate for Prof. Alexander Matting and received his doctorate in 1969 for his work on adhesion reactions on metal surfaces. His first publication, co-written with his friend and colleague Ulrich Draugelates and entitled “Testing of bonded metal joints”, appeared in the journal Adhäsion in 1966. In 1969 a reference work by A. Matting entitled “Metallkleben” (bonding metal) was published by Springer-Verlag, and Brockmann and Draugelates made a significant contribution to this. In 1968, after being made an emeritus professor, Matting founded the then “Association for Applied Materials Research” (AFAM) in Bremen-Lesum. Brockmann was later to become head of the “Adhesive bonding, plastics, and composite materials” section. This association was incorporated into the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft in 1974 as the “Institute for Applied Materials Research” (IFAM). During his time in Bremen, Walter Brockmann
started the seminar series “Adhesive bonding in production” and was involved in setting up and carrying out the major joint research project entitled “Adhesive bonding technology”.

In 1990 Walter Brockmann took up a professorship in material sciences at the University of Kaiserslautern. There Prof. Brockmann founded and led the Workgroup Materials and Surface Technologies (AWOK) in the Mechanical and Process Engineering Faculty until he became emeritus professor in 2004. During this time he
supervised twelve doctoral students in areas which included ageing mechanisms, the long-term stability of bonded joints, bonding glass, and pressure sensitive adhesives. He inspired students with his captivating style of lecturing and his seeming infinite repertoire of colourful anecdotes covering a vast variety
of aspects of adhesion and adhesives. He gave those who worked under him much confidence and freedom encouraging them to develop creativity and to carry out their scientific work self-dependently. Even after becoming emeritus professor, Walter Brockmann was actively associated with the work group he had established and kept on sharing his experience with students and scientific assistants.

Walter Brockmann was actively involved in the exchange of scientific knowledge at an international
level. He set up the EURADH conferences together with colleagues in France and England. These conferences have taken place every two years since 1992 and have become an established international event. Walter Brockmann was also a co-founder of the adhesive bonding technology group at DECHEMA and the China-Swiss Bonding Congress. In 1997 Brockmann received an honorary professorship at Northeastern University in Shenyang (China) and in 1998 was Guest Research Fellow Professor at the Heilongjiang Academy of Sciences in Harbin (China). In addition, he was a member of numerous organizations including the German Chemical Society (GDCh), the German Institute for Standardization
(DIN), the Deutsche Institut für Bautechnik (DIBt) (German Institute for Civil Engineering), the Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering (SAMPE), and the Adhesion Society in the USA. He published more than 260 papers, 2 books on adhesive bonding, and also 5 other technical books. In 1999 his scientific work and worldwide conference activities were acknowledged when he was awarded the
DECHEMA medal.

His former colleagues in Bremen and Kaiserslautern and the adhesive bonding community in general have lost a devoted scientist and friend who always had time to listen to and to help others. For that we owe him special thanks and appreciation."


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