“Successful Measurement of
Dynamic Force, Pressure and Acceleration” by Dr. Pat Walter

Patrick L. Walter, Ph.D.

Professor, Texas Christian University (TCU)

Patrick Walter possesses a BSME from The Pennsylvania State University, a MSME from The University of New Mexico, and a Ph.D. from The Arizona State University. The first portion of Dr. Walter’s career was spent at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, NM. The majority of this tenure was devoted to managing laboratory, flight, and field test activities. Among the many organizations/functions he supervised were Transducer Development and Calibration, Measurement Consulting, Telemetry Component Development, Telemetry System Packaging for Weapon System Stockpile Surveillance, Mass Properties, Test Facilities Development, Precision Inertial Test System Development, Kauai Test Facility (a rocket launch facility on the Pacific Missile Range Facility), Rocket Systems, and an FAA congressionally mandated Aging Aircraft Program.

During his Sandia tenure, Pat’s technical focus was directed towards physical measurements supporting test and evaluation activities. Examples include displacement, velocity, strain, accelerations from milli-gs to > 100,000 gs, acoustic level pressures to 10’s of thousands of psi, temperature, flow, and much more. His interests spanned the entire measurement chain: the physics behind the measurement, transducer technology, signal transmission and conditioning, data acquisition systems, and data analysis and usage.

Subsequent to his Sandia career, Dr. Walter accepted a position in the Engineering Department at Texas Christian University (TCU). At TCU he developed Experimental Mechanics and Structural Dynamics Laboratories and established an industry based Senior Design Program focused around test, calibration, and control activities. While at TCU, Dr. Walter also developed a Measurements Systems Engineering 3-day program (www.mse.tcu.edu) taught at customer locations and sponsored through TCU’s Extended Education Department. Aside from individual corporate consultations, from 2003 through today he has maintained a position as Consultant to and Measurement Specialist in PCB Piezotronics, the world’s largest supplier of dynamic instrumentation. In addition to contributing to transducer design and test activities at PCB, he provides 2-3 day training programs for them - a subset of the Measurements Systems Engineering program. The combined TCU and PCB programs have been taught well over 100 times to thousands of individuals at sites within the U. S., Canada, Brazil, U.K., France, Australia, and Japan. Participants from numerous other countries have attended the training at PCB headquarters.

Pat is a 40+ year member of both the Society of Experimental Mechanics and the International Automation Society as well as a member of the American Society of Engineering Educators. He has authored one book, numerous handbook chapters, and well over 100 journal articles and reports. During the early 1970s, he chaired a working subgroup of the Telemetry Group of the National Test Ranges. In 1989, he received both a USDOE Albuquerque Office Quality Award and a joint Certificate of Appreciation Award from Sandia Labs and Allied Signal for his work on the Trident II program. In 1990 he received an Award of Excellence from the USDOE Nuclear Weapons Program, and in 1994 he received a Meritorious Achievement Award from Sandia Labs. In 1995 (upon his retirement from Sandia), he received a letter of commendation from Senator Pete Domenici, then head of the U.S. Senate Budget Committee. In 2002, Prof. Walter’s TCU engineering seniors won the Design News national competition award ($20,000). In 2006, Prof. Walter received a Commander’s coin from Aberdeen Test Center (U. S. Army) and in 2008 he received Edwards AFB Instrumentation Special Recognition coin (#19). In 2008, he was awarded the Shock and Vibration Information Analysis Committee’s (SAVIAC’s) Lifetime Achievement Award. SAVIAC represents the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, and the Defense Treat Reduction Agency in this subject area. In 2009 he was recognized as a Senior Life Member of ISA. In 2017 he retired from active teaching at TCU and was awarded Professor Emeritus of Professional Practice in Engineering. He remains active in his consulting activities.