Hard material expert Ken J A Brookes has died

November 24, 2020

Ken Brookes, who received a special EPMA Lifetime Service Award in 2017, has died (Courtesy EPMA)

Kenneth J A Brookes, a renowned hard material specialist, consultant, author and Powder Metallurgy industry journalist, has died.

Having begun his career at Tungsten Electric Company, London, in 1951, he was responsible for research and technical innovation aimed at a range of submicrometre hardmetal grades (including special alloys for machining superalloys) with chromium-carbide grain-growth inhibition; highly-alloyed, extra-tough, heat-resistant, solid-solution carbides; consistently super-dry hydrogen to minimise grain growth; nanosize cobalt to eliminate binder lakes in sintered hardmetal; and a special-purpose ultra-hard (2250 HV30) grade with 7% cobalt.

On leaving Teco, Brookes published the widely consulted World Directory and Handbook of Hardmetals and Hard Materials, which was first published in 1975. The production of this extensive and informative book ensured that Ken made contact with a fully representative community of companies active in the field, thus providing a thorough overview of their many interests.

Brookes was a regular attendee at most of the hard material communities’ events, such as the Plansee Seminars, Euro and World PM meetings and the International Science of Hard Material conferences. In 2017, he received a special Lifetime Service Award, presented at Euro PM2017 in Milan, Italy, for his highly regarded contributions and association with the hardmetal and hard material community over an extremely long period.

Brookes also had a parallel career with senior responsibilities in journalism, being a former president of the UK Chartered Institute of Journalists. For sixty-nine years Ken Brookes took a special interest in promoting the wellbeing and success of the hard materials sector. He will be missed by many in the industry.

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