Raymond M. "Putt" Patalsky
by Ralph J. Gray
from TSOP Newsletter 17 (1), March 2000
Mr. Raymond M. Patalsky, a well known, industrial coal petrographer and coal scientist died of liver cancer on December 17,1999 at his home in Monroeville, Pennsylvania. Ray was part owner and president of Coal Petrographic Associates (CPA). His company was probably the largest independent coal and coke petrographic laboratory in the United States.

Ray graduated from Duquesne University. His experience with coal began in 1957 when he was employed at U. S. Steel's Research Laboratory in Monroeville where he worked with the group that developed the prediction of coke stability, carbonization pressure and volume change from petrographic analyses which incorporated vitrinoid reflectance with maceral and mineral analyses.

He developed his skills in the application of microscope techniques in investigations of coke structure, carbon microtextures, roof carbon, form cokes, carbon anodes, tars, pitches, mesophase and other materials including ore pellets, flue dust slags, etc. In 1968 he was assigned to a group that provided technical assistance to coke plants where he worked on bulk density control, stage charging and steam aspiration of coke ovens to improve coke quality and reduce emissions. He also worked in improved coke quenching.

In 1972 he left U. S. Steel to set up a coal petrographic laboratory for J & L Steel Corporation, where he was a Senior Research Engineer engaged in coal exploration work related to mine development and in the improvement of coal beneficiation and the formulation of coking coal blends. He was responsible for the acquisition and allocation of coals for all of the coke plants. When J & L was purchased by LTV, Ray continued his work with LTV until he formed his own company together with some associates from W. F. Berry Associates in 1988. Under Ray's guidance, the new company, Coal Petrographic Associates, grew to employ 10 full time and 5 part time employees that service the petrographic requirements of most of the major metallurgical coal producers in the United States. Ray and his group were also active in characterizing coals and chars for use in the production of ferrosilicon and silicon in electric arc furnaces. Ray published on a wide variety of subjects that are related to coal, coke and other carbons. He was a member of TSOP, and ICCP and was very active in ASTM where he worked on standards related to coke reactivity, coal oxidation as well as maceral and vitrinite reflectance analysis.

Ray is survived by his wife, Mary Louise; a sister, Helen; two stepchildren; three children, Terry, Ray and Lynn, and seven grandchildren. Ray will be missed by all of those that knew him in a personal or professional capacity. Both his golf buddies and his professional associates held Ray in high esteem. The very large number of persons from mining operations, coke plants and laboratory facilities that attended his last services attest to his enormous popularity and respect as a special person and an expert in his field.