PULLMAN, Wash. — Roy F. Pellerin received the Washington State University Alumni Achievement Award on Nov. 29 at a reception for family and friends in Ocean Park.
During a 38-year career at WSU, Pellerin’s research enhanced the engineering uses of wood and wood materials, primarily through the development of nondestructive testing and evaluation.
He started in the College of Engineering’s wood technology section in 1959, the same year he completed a degree in mechanical and materials engineering, and was appointed professor of material science and engineering in 1983. When Pellerin retired in 1996, he was a professor of civil engineering and director of WSU’s Wood Materials and Engineering Laboratory.
He holds 20 U.S. and/or foreign patents for various nondestructive testing and evaluation technologies and equipment. Pellerin also is author or co-author of more than 250 technical reports and publications, and is co-author of the book “Nondestructive Evaluation of Wood.”
In the wood technology section, he and colleagues designed ways to test the strength of the finger-joints in structural lumber used in the production of laminated beams. They also induced a stress wave in wooden structures to evaluate their structural integrity.
For example, the heavy timbers used in the 1930s to build the WSU football grandstands were suspected of being threatened by significant decay. An engineering report, however, stated the grandstands were structurally sound, but WSU wood engineers determined the grandstands were indeed unsafe. They induced a stress wave in a structural member, followed by measurement of attenuating and the time required for the stress to spread through the timber. The seats were ultimately replaced.
Nondestructive testing of wood research was selected as one of the outstanding research efforts of the WSU College of Engineering and School of Architecture over the university’s first 100 years.
Pellerin helped found Metriguard Inc. in 1973 to commercialize research from the wood materials and engineering lab, particularly in the nondestructive testing area. Today the company is a world leader in the supply of many types of nondestructive testing devices and other equipment to the forest products industry. Metriguard now produces lumber and veneer grading equipment, and equipment used to test tension, bending and compression of wood, and in-place inspection tools such as the portable stress wave timer.
Pellerin and his wife, Pat, live in Ocean Park.