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Brewing and Bonding
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 October 2005 People

Larry Carbary, second from left, plays tenor sax with Blast from the Past
Brewing and Bonding

As an expert in structural silicone, Lawrence Carbary understands how to bond things like glass and steel. But Carbary, who was recently given the 2005 Sealants Hall of Fame Award by ASTM Committee C24 on Building Seals and Sealants, knows quite a bit about things that bring people together as well.

Take, for example, beer, one of the ultimate bonding materials in all of human history.

Inspired by the burgeoning success of microbreweries in the Pacific Northwest in the mid-1980s, Carbary, who was then living in California, decided he’d like to try his hand at brewing. After speaking to a number of experienced home brewers, Carbary chose to take an analytical approach to the craft of beer making and signed up for some classes.

“I took two one-week courses in brewing science and sanitation and microbiology,” says Carbary. “Breweries send their quality assurance people to these classes. I joined on my own nickel, while on vacation.”

The education paid off for Carbary and his beer. “My formal training is in chemical engineering, where I learned to understand things like fluid flow through pipes and heat exchangers. The classes made sense to me because brewing is a great combination of microbiology and chemical engineering.”

Since taking the classes, Carbary, who now lives in Midland, Mich., says he has brewed about 210 batches and won awards for his beer in Michigan and Wisconsin. Along the way, Carbary has met internationally known beer expert Michael Jackson, whom he slyly notes is “the real Michael Jackson.”

When it comes to brewing, Carbary says, “I mainly stick with the ale side of the equation because I think they’re more forgiving and robust. Pale ale, porters, stouts, and brown ales are my specialty.” Carbary is a purist about ingredients, using only barley malt, water, yeast, and hops; he won’t be brewing a raspberry beer any time soon.

Carbary, an associate industry scientist at Dow Corning Corporation, was able to put his brewing skills to good use in meeting new people when he was transferred to Seoul, South Korea in 1997. He and his family (Annette, his wife of 20 years, and their children, Donald and Colleen) lived in Seoul for three years, an experience Carbary thoroughly enjoyed.

“Being able to communicate with people was my favorite part of living in Korea,” says Carbary. “Studying the language got me into the culture enough to see how similar it is to ours — for example, their busiest travel day of the year is during their Thanksgiving season, just as it is with us.”

“I also loved the food in Korea,” notes Carbary. “Great, healthy, spicy full-of-garlic-and-red-pepper food.”

Upon returning to Midland in 2000, Carbary was able to return to another favorite avocation that just happens to be all about bringing people together: playing tenor saxophone. Carbary plays in Blast from the Past, a 17-piece big band that celebrated its silver anniversary as a Midland institution this year. The band, which still features some original members, plays classic big band music during monthly concerts in Midland.

Carbary became an ASTM International member in 1999, though his involvement goes back to the mid-1980s, when he presented papers at ASTM symposia. While he is a member of Committee C14 on Glass and Glass Products, most of his ASTM work centers around his membership in C24 on Building Seals and Sealants. Carbary has worked extensively on C24 standards on adhesion and structural silicone glazing, including what he calls “the bible of structural silicone glazing,” C 1401, Guide for Structural Sealant Glazing. He has been active in nearly every C24 subcommittee and has found his ASTM work to be quite rewarding.

“What I derive from ASTM work is the ability to put real world concepts into standards that have a global impact,” says Carbary, who notes that the ASTM Sealants Hall of Fame award is the highest recognition that he has received in his career. “Being an ASTM member allows me to be at the forefront of technology.”

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