Dr. Ulrich von Pidoll

Former scientific Researcher in Electrostatics at the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt, Braunschweig, Germany

Dr. Ulrich von Pidoll was born 1956 in the German city of Cologne. He is the son of the architect Dipl. Ing. Heinrich von Pidoll and his wife Angelika. From his grandfather Ernst Gambs (1886-1962), Dr. von Pidoll learned to read and write and to love cars, music and history.

At Easter 1963, Dr. von Pidoll became schooled and wrote 1964 his first work "Autos 1947-1962". On February 10th, 1968, he earned his first money for his first publication on winter pleasure and problems.

From 1968 to 1971, Dr. von Pidoll tinkered radio receivers from old pre-war radio fragments taken from air-raid shelters in the neighborhood. One "Volksempfänger" from 1933 with reaction coupling is still playing today in his home. In 1969, he was schoolmaster of the 7th classes in maths.

From 1972 to 1978, Dr. von Pidoll gave repetitional lessons and used his earnings to buy vintage records, his favorite artists being Enrico Caruso, Francesco Tamagno and Dave Dee & Co. In 1975, he finished school with the German graduation diploma "Abitur".

From 1975 to 1980, Dr. von Pidoll studied Physical Chemistry at the Technical University of Darmstadt and earned a book prize in mathematics 1976. It was during this time that he developed a medical compound with more efficient enzyme liberation to improve the therapy of pancreatic insufficiency (German Patent application OS 3642853).

From 1981 to 1984, Dr. von Pidoll was a scientific researcher in the group of Prof. Dr. K. H. Homann in Darmstadt and obtained the degree of a Dr. Ing.. His dissertation was a mass spectrometric study of the pyrolysis of typical compounds in the exhaust gas of rich flames. It was during this time period that Dr. von Pidoll also found time to research and write a book on his family history in 1981.

From 1985-1990, Dr. von Pidoll was a scientific referent at the Feldmühle AG in Plochingen, Germany (today CeramTec International). He was involved in developing patents, advertising and new products, including German patent PS 4013473 until the smashing of the Feldmühle. By this time, Dr. von Pidoll has owned five VW-beetles, and he used his experience to write 1989-1990 a successful book about this popular model.

From 1990 to 2018, Dr. von Pidoll was a scientific researcher at the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt, Braunschweig, Germany. Working in the laboratory "Physical Ignition Sources", he is expert in hazards due to electrostatic charging, especially in electrostatic varnishing, gasoline stations and automotive fuel systems. His job includes writing experts opinion about the electrostatic safety of new products, developing new test methods and safety concepts and determining the reasons for unexplainable explosions and fires. This work requires the expectation of the unexpected, a detective's instinct in questioning witnesses of an accident and creative ideas leading to new solutions.

In 1993, Dr. von Pidoll won together with Dr. Helmut Krämer the Helmholtz prize for their work about the safety of powder varnishing. He later conducted scientific experiments to determine the flammability limits of flock clouds and liquid paint spray during the electrostatic paint spraying and flocking process. He also mainly contributed to the European standards EN 50050, EN 50176, EN 50177, EN 50223 and EN 50348 on electrostatic spraying.

In 1995, Dr. von Pidoll became well-known for detecting the reason for car fires during refuelling, and in 1999 Barons elected him one of the top 500 scientists of the world.

In 2000 Dr. von Pidoll developed an universally applicable method for the evaluation of any product or process intended for use in explosive atmosphere. The method is based on charging the test object under worst case conditions and measure the transferred charge of provoked discharges. His idea has been honored with a Helmholtz premium 2004 and the James Melcher paper prize in 2005.

From 2001 to 2018, Dr. von Pidoll was convener of international working groups working in the fields of electrostatic ignition hazards and electrostatic spraying. One of his European groups wrote CENELEC TR 50404 "Code of practice for the avoidance of hazards due to static electricity". One of his worldwide committees published in 2013 IEC TS 60079-32-1 and IEC 60079-32-2 "Explosive atmospheres, Part 32 Electrostatics, Part 1 Guidance, Part 2 Tests". These documents are the most important worldwide accepted documents on electrostatic hazards and have been basis of the respective German regulations BGR 132, BGR T033, TRBS 2153 and TRGS 727.

In 2012, Dr. von Pidoll developed an exact method for predicting the chargeability of any material without charging tests. The method is based on measuring the surface resistance at a high voltage of 10 kV. In the same year, his German patent No. 10 2012 002811 was applied.

In 2013, Dr. von Pidoll was honored with the Helmut Krämer Award, the highest international award on Electrostatics, another Helmholtz premium, a premium of the PTB, and 2016 with the IEC 1906 award. All awards were given for his lifework, especially in international standardization (chairman of 7 working groups, about 200 publications). In 2017, Dr. von Pidoll was general chairman of the Electrostatics conference in Frankfurt, the most important international conference on this topic.

Meanwhile, Dr. von Pidoll has retired and he has more time to drive his old Mercedes 170S, listen to music from his music archives, watch films from his film archives, or play on the piano. Dr. von Pidoll is married and has one daughter and one step-daughter.

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