Margaret W. ‘Hap’ Brennecke: Trailblazer


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玛格丽特·W·哈普·布伦内克是第一位在美国宇航局马歇尔航天飞行中心材料与工艺实验室工作的女性焊接工程师。她是铝合金领域的先驱,这是阿波罗计划成功的关键技能。布伦内克花了很长时间在一个男性主导的领域里建造大型建筑,打破障碍。

1934年,她在俄亥俄州立大学获得了化学学士学位,并在美国铝业公司工艺开发实验室担任了22年的研究冶金学家,研究大型结构中使用铝的新工艺和开发新合金。

在第二次世界大战期间,布伦内克致力于确定飞机、铁路设备、桥梁、浮桥和登陆艇的合金和连接方法,就像1944年诺曼底登陆时使用的方法一样。和那个时代的许多其他女性一样,布伦内克抓住了战时经济迅速扩张和男性劳动力萎缩带来的机遇,当时,男性劳动力正在欧洲和太平洋战场上作战。在布伦内克的整个职业生涯中,性别歧视一直伴随着她。布伦内克指出,她的昵称“Hap”允许她在实验室之外的书面报告和通信中伪装自己的性别。

1961年,布伦内克以焊接专家的身份加入马歇尔航天飞行中心,她对铝合金、钨惰性气体和金属惰性气体焊接工艺有着丰富的知识。在整个土星时代,布伦内克被中心管理人员要求为巨大的土星级选择轻质高强度金属和焊接技术作出关键决定。具体来说,Brennecke为解决低温燃料箱厚铝焊缝获得所需的热处理、冷加工、金相组织等方面的问题提供了冶金工程支持,使其具有较高的强度和可靠性。她还为那些高强度铝合金的最佳热时效处理的重要研究工作做出了贡献。

在这张图片中,1964年10月,布伦纳克和欧内斯特·贝里斯在马歇尔航天飞行中心的制造和工程实验室回顾了蓝图。

Margaret W. ‘Hap’ Brennecke was the first female welding engineer to work in the Materials and Processes Laboratory at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. She was a trailblazer in the field of aluminum alloys – a skill critical to the success of the Apollo program. Brennecke spent her long career building large structures and breaking barriers in a male-dominated field.

She obtained a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the Ohio State University in 1934, and spent 22 years as a research metallurgist with the Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa) Process Development Laboratory investigating new processes for using aluminum in large structures and developing new alloys.

During the World War II, Brennecke worked to determine alloys and joining methods for aircraft, railroad equipment, bridges, pontoons and landing craft like those used during the 1944 Normandy invasion. Along with many other women in the era, Brennecke seized upon the opportunities offered by the rapidly expanding wartime economy and a shrinking male labor force, which was fighting in Europe and the Pacific theaters. Discrimination on the basis of her gender followed Brennecke throughout her career. Brennecke noted that her nickname ‘Hap’ allowed her to disguise her gender in written reports and correspondence beyond the laboratory.

In 1961, Brennecke joined the Marshall Space Flight Center as a welding expert, bringing with her a vast knowledge of aluminum alloys and TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) and MIG (Metal Inert Gas) welding processes. Throughout the Saturn era, Brennecke was called upon by center management to make critical decisions on the selection of lightweight high-strength metals and welding techniques for the huge Saturn stages. Specifically, Brennecke provided metallurgical engineering support for solving the problems of obtaining the required heat treatments, cold work, and metallographic structure leading to high strength and reliability in thick aluminum welds of cryogenic fuel tanks. She also contributed to the important research efforts leading to optimal thermal-aging treatments for those high-strength aluminum alloys.

In this image, Brennecke reviews blueprints with Ernest Bayless in the Manufacturing and Engineering Laboratory at Marshall Space Flight Center in October 1964.

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