Francis Versnyder

National Medal of Technology and Innovation

Manufacturing

The development and application of directionally solidified and single crystal turbine components which improve fuel efficiencies and maintenance requirements for jet aircraft engines, both commercial and military, and which contribute to United States leadership in their production. These developments have saved commercial airlines alone hundreds of millions of dollars.

The development and application of directionally solidified and single crystal turbine components which improve fuel efficiencies and maintenance requirements for jet aircraft engines, both commercial and military, and which contribute to United States leadership in their production. These developments have saved commercial airlines alone hundreds of millions of dollars.

VIEW STATISTICS +

Birth
May 27, 1925
Age Awarded
61
Country of Birth
USA
Key Contributions
Fuel Efficient Jet Aircraft
Awarded by
Ronald Wilson Reagan
Education
University of Notre Dame
Areas of Impact
Transportation
Energy & Environment
Affiliations
United Technologies Corporation
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Francis Versnyder graduated Notre Dame University with a B.S. in metallurgy, and over the course of his career became one of the world’s most distinguished high-temperature metallurgists. His first job was with General Electric, working on problems of high-temperature metallurgy for early turbojet engines. According to a memorial tribute, Versnyder believed his future at GE was limited by his lack of a doctorate degree, and he left to accept an offer as head of alloy and materials development in a new research department at Pratt & Whitney, United Aircraft Corporation.

Working for Pratt & Whitney, Versynder invented directionally solidified and single crystal turbine components for jet aircraft engines. The materials he discovered provide greater durability and fuel savings in commercial aircraft, allowing for increased fuel efficiency, longer lifespan and greater maneuverability.

Versnyder’s work opened an entirely new field of applied high-temperature metallurgy, ushering in a new era of research and development that continues to be pursued today. 

By Jen Santisi

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