Georgia Tech Professor and Authority on Fluid Mechanics Dies at 82

Headshot of C. Samuel Martin

C. Samuel Martin, a world-renowned authority in fluid mechanics, specifically water hammer and hydraulics, and a Georgia Institute of Technology professor emeritus who taught from the early 1960s through 1998, has died at 82.

Martin, Ph.D., P.E., F.ASCE, had more than 40 years of experience involving water hammer and pumping in fossil, hydro and nuclear power plant piping, water distribution systems, valve cavitation, and refrigeration piping. His expertise in fluid transients spanned many types of liquids.

As a national and international consultant and lecturer, Martin helped numerous industries and government agencies solve water hammer problems in conventional and nuclear piping. He was called on as an expert witness in fluid mechanics, including hydraulic shock litigation for ammonia refrigeration systems.

Martin “had an unwavering focus on high quality educational and research contributions [and] a lifelong commitment to impactful professional and societal service,” said Georgia Tech professor and ASCE member Aris Georgakakos.

In addition to his ASCE Fellow status, Martin was a member of ASME (formerly the American Society of Mechanical Engineers) and the International Association of Hydraulic Research. He was a past chair of ASME’s fluids engineering division.

Martin conducted water hammer-based experiments in both water and ammonia piping, and authored over 60 peer-reviewed papers plus many more in fluid transients, water hammer, pump systems, and two-phase flow. His ASME paper as a Freeman Scholar is revered.

Most recently he was an authority on condensation-induced water hammer leading to steam explosions. In that regard he was given the 2013 Outstanding Technical Paper Award from the ASME Fluid-Structure Interaction Technical Committee.

Georgia Tech President Emeritus G. Wayne Clough, an ASCE Distinguished Member, said Martin helped him receive his bachelor’s degree in 1963. “Sam opened my eyes to the joy of research, a gift that keeps on giving. When I returned to Tech as president, I was fortunate to be able to tell Sam how much my independent study with him meant to me. As president, my experience inspired me to fund a program that supported independent study for all undergraduates. Sam’s legacy runs deep.”


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