As we welcome the new Chair of AFRC, we also say thank you and goodbye to an IFRF/AFRC stalwart – Jordan Loftus.
Jordan has been in the IFRF/AFRC world since the 1950s/60s, in fact he remembers the first meeting of AFRC in Pittsburgh, on 18th November 1952 – chaired by Prof. Hoyt C Hottel – where $12,000 was sent to the IFRF to initiate AFRC’s membership.
“I returned to MIT to pursue a doctorate degree on Feb. 2, 1959. My doctorate dissertation was ‘Partial Oxidation of Ortho-xylene in a Vanadium Pentoxide Melts’. I recall that Prof. Charles N. Satterfield (Reaction Kinetics), Prof. Ken Smith (Fluid Dynamics) and Adel Sarofim (Thermal Heat Transfer}, were my thesis committee.
I worked from 1960 to 1968 for an ethylene, acetylene etc. production consultant – Dr. Schutt – who had published numerous papers that dealt with inside the tube product distribution but not the interaction of the combustion outside the tubes with endothermic reaction inside. He had a philosophy on how the heat should be applied along the tubular reactor.
In 1963, I audited Prof. Hoyt C. Hottel’s course in Radiant Heat Transfer – and this was my introduction to Combustion. An IBM rep came to the office and offered free time after hours on an IBM 650 Drum Machine. I jumped at the opportunity and became self-taught in FORTRAN computer programming. Following this Adel Sarofim and I collaborate on a Hottel Zoning method for a 1×6 zone plug flow Fortran Simulation of the firebox of an ethylene furnace.”
In 1973, Jordan joined Texaco Engineering Dept. in Houston, Texas. “I asked if I could retain the rights to my enhanced computer programme (well at the time it was enhanced!) and that Texaco considered re-joining AFRC. After a short review, Texaco agreed.”
He chaired the 1st AFRC Industrial Symposium on NOx Reduction in Industrial Heaters and Furnace on 22nd and 23rd October, 1979 in Houston, Texas. There were 13 presentations from AFRC, IFRF, JFRC or AFRC Associate Members. He recalls that two of presenters were Peter Roberts and Roy Paine – Director and Technical Managers of IFRF talking about “IFRF Activities Current and Future”. Also presenting were Sigfrid Michelfelder and Klaus Leikert talking about “Pulverised Coal Staged Burners for Boilers”.
It was at this meeting that Jordan suggested that an open ‘Fall Symposium’ be held alongside a Spring members meeting. It passed overwhelmingly.
In 1981, Jim Hovis, the retiring AFRC Chairman, asked Jordan to run for chairman. Texaco agreed and Jordan began arranging AFRC’s general meeting in 1981.
He used the Texaco Engineering Department facilities (Z fold mailing, steno pool and copying machine) and made sure each attendee received a 2” thick, 3 ring notebook stuffed with 465 pages. This was largely achievable because he managed to convince his fellow engineers to pitch in by staying after hours and his wife, Bernice, did the food.
Jordan went on to be AFRC Chair for 14 years. During this time, he established the triennial event in Hawaii which linked to IFRF’s Japanese Flame Research Committee (JFRC) – the first of which was held in 1991 at the Iliakai Yacht Club Hotel near Waikiki Beach, Oahu. There were 53 papers presented over three days. All of which were delivered in English but the JFRC provided running translation for Japanese attendees.
In 1991, AFRC presented him with a plaque recognising his ten years of dedicated service and his many accomplishments as Chair. On presenting him with the plaque, Phil Smith said “Through Jordan’s expertise, Texaco has made significant improvements in the efficiency of their burners. One recent example was that Jordan’s consultation saved the Delaware City Plant over $1M per year in energy cost. We congratulate Jordan for the special recognition he has received from his peers; and we want to add our own congratulations and appreciation too.”
In spring 1994, Jordan retired from Texaco and Richard Waibel was elected the 4th AFRC Chair. Jordan became Technical Secretary until he retired at end of 2019.
IFRF and AFRC has much to thank Jordan for over this extraordinary career. We wish him all the best in his retirement, and I am sure you do too. Please send us your memories or blessings for Jordan and we will share this with him.