David P. Kendall was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and spent most of his life in upstate New York. He obtained a master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. For 29 yr, he served as a Senior Research Engineer at U.S. Army Benet Laboratories, living in Troy with his wife Barbara and their children Walter, William, Wayne, and Wendy. David made major, wide-ranging technical contributions in the general field of engineering mechanics.

This breadth is illustrated by his unstinting, voluntary contributions to numerous professional societies. These include: The American Society of Mechanical Engineers in various areas of high pressure engineering; The American Society for Testing and Materials and The Society for Experimental Mechanics in the general area of fracture mechanics; and various professional societies in the area of high pressure physics. He was the chairman of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Technical Subcommittee on High Pressure Engineering. He was named a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers International. He was twice a recipient of the U.S. Army R&D Achievement Award and is listed in Who’s Who in Science and Engineering.

The technical topics addressed by David Kendall mirror this breadth. He developed and published extensively in three major areas:

New Engineering Methods—Including new engineering analysis and testing methods for rapid loading of metallic and composite materials; fracture mechanics test and analysis methods with particular application to pressure vessels; methods of both hydraulic and swage autofrettage for high strength steel pressure vessels; methods for application and evaluation of ultrahigh pressures applied to a broad range of materials.

New Material Properties—Including the dynamic yield strength and fracture toughness of high strength steels; deformation-modified and autofrettage-modified yield strength of high strength steels; electromagnetic, semiconducting, and other physical properties of materials when subjected to ultrahigh pressure.


Testing and Design Codes—Including standardized fracture mechanics test methods for plane strain fracture toughness of metallic materials, for The American Society for Testing and Materials and detailed design codes for safe limiting pressure and fatigue life of pressure vessels for industrial and nuclear applications, for The American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He also contributed to development of the new division of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers boiler and pressure vessel code dealing with high pressure.

Above all, his colleagues recall a highly principled man of deep intellect and disarming modesty. Much of David’s seminal work involved the use of slide rule or hand calculator. Modern computers made it possible to validate his design codes. It then became clear that not only had he had “got it right,” but that he had done so with amazing precision.

Working steadily following retirement, David was frequently invited to help fathom some new problem and would often predict the phenomenon before seeing the data.

David complemented his outstanding professional work with a wide range of interests including art, theatre, and music. Those who knew him appreciated a gentle polymath of outstanding ability and humility.