“Colt” Pears had previously carried out high-temperature goal gasification work for the Bureau of Mines. His ambition was to create a world-class high-temperature materials characterization laboratory. The lab’s innovations included the development of a facility that could make accurate measurements of loads on brittle high-temperature metals and optical strain measurement techniques.
The first known measurements of tensile properties at 6,000-degrees Fahrenheit took place at Southern Research, and extreme-temperature testing and analysis became a core competency of the organization. In 1964, the American Society for Testing and Materials recognized the gas-bearing tensile-stress-strain apparatus developed by Pears as the year’s most significant contribution to testing.
Under Pear’s leadership, the Mechanical and Materials Engineering Department targeted work involving U.S. aerospace needs, including high-temperature technology and characterization, macrostructural modeling, failure analysis, and core technology of materials.
Pears is a member of the State of Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame.