Irwin Lachman

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Irwin Lachman (born August 2, 1930) is a co-inventor of the catalytic converter.


Lachman was born August 2 in Brooklyn, New York in 1930 and grew up in Jersey Homesteads, New Jersey, and attended Upper Freehold Township High School (later renamed Allentown High School).[1] Lachman was born in Brooklyn, New York, where late his family moved to New Jersey, attending the public schools.[2] He received a B.S. in ceramic engineering from Rutgers University in 1952, and then a M.S. and a Ph.D. in ceramic engineering while at Ohio State University in 1953 and 1955.[2] After serving with the U.S. Air Force, he worked for Thermo Materials, Inc. and the Sandia National Laboratory before joining Corning’s ceramic research in 1960.[2] Lachman retired in 1994 and pursued his artistic interests by creating monoprints that he exhibits in galleries and at shows. Nowadays, he lives peacefully in California with his wife Ruthie Lachman.


At Corning Glass Works, Lachman was a member of the team that invented the first inexpensive, mass producible catalytic converter for automobiles operating internal combustion engines. In addition to Irwin Lachman, the team consisted of engineer Rodney Bagley and geologist Ronald Lewis.While working at Corning, Irwin Lachman co-invented the ceramic substrate found almost in all catalytic converters.[2] The catalytic converters provide cleaner automotive emissions, which greatly reduce the amount harmful pollutants.[2]

Lachman, along with his colleagues were critical with developing an efficient and feasible catalytic converter. Later did he realize ceramics could be ideally suited to meet the demands placed on a catalytic converter.[2] The composition he worked on offered better resistance to sudden and extreme temperature fluctuations.[2] Lachman’s fundamental ceramics technology ultimately decreases pollution released into the environment. [2] Their work was a response to the Clean Air Act (1970) and reduced polluting emissions from the combustion process by 95%. Additionally, because the catalyst they used in their invention, platinum, required removing lead from gasoline as an additive, their device offered a secondary benefit to the environment by reducing lead pollution.

Working together in the early 1970s at Corning Inc. in Corning, N.Y., Lachman, Bagley and Lewis all used cellular ceramic technology to create the ceramic honeycomb that became the essential core component of catalytic converters.[3] Lachman and Lewis worked on the project for two years to develop a new ceramic material that had all the key characteristics they had been in need of: high temperature durability, low thermal expansion, low thermal conductivity at high temperatures, light weight and controlled porosity.[3]

Lachman, along with Bagley and Lewis, were inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2002 [4] and received the 2003 National Medal of Technology at a White House ceremony.[5] The team also won the International Ceramics Prize of 1996 for Industry and Innovation "Advanced Ceramics." [6] Lachman received a B. Eng. from Rutgers University in 1952 and a Ph.D. in ceramic engineering from Ohio State University in 1955, holds 47 U.S. patents and has authored numerous technical papers.[7]


  1. ^ Staff. "Research Team from Corning Incorporated Earn Nation’s Highest Honor for Accomplishments", University of Utah press release, March 14, 2005. Accessed February 14, 2011. "Irwin M. Lachman was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1930, but raised in Roosevelt, New Jersey. He graduated in 1948 from Upper Freehold Township High School, now called Allentown High School."
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Irwin M. Lachman, Ph.D Engineer, Co-Inventor of the Practical Catalytic Converter [sic] Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ a b Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ "THE CLASS OF 2002: They invented LASIK surgery, seat belts, and aspirin, among other things" By Jim Quinn, Invention and Technology Magazine, Fall 2002, Vol 18, Issue 2.
  5. ^ "President awards national science and technology medals" from Associated Press in USAToday, March 14, 2005
  6. ^ "Role of Ceramics in a Self-Sustaining Environment, Proceedings of FORUM '96 of the Academy of Ceramics held in Cracow, Poland, June 1996.
  7. ^ Rutgers Focus, May 30, 2007

6. "Engineer,Irwin Lachman,Inventor,". Retrieved 2015-12-30.