MICHAEL R. PARSEY
It with sadness that we announce the loss of Mike Parsey in October. Mike will be remembered by all in TTI as our founder, business colleague and friend and will be greatly missed. He taught us so much and was always interested in spending time to help and give advice from his immense knowledge of fibre ropes that he had gleaned over his 40 years of service.
He was educated as a Physicist at Leeds University and became a self-educated Plastics Technologist. He spent most of his career working with plastics, fibres, and ropes. He worked for ICI Fibres, then one of the world's leading manufacturers of synthetic fibres from 1959 to 1974. There he invented and developed Parafil parallel-yarn polyester rope, then the world's strongest rope. He also developed innovative reinforced composite textiles, including Paraweb and Paraband. He set up and managed production and marketing of these products in a group which within six years became an independent ICI subsidiary, with annual sales of US3 million dollars.
Mike served as Technical Director for Marlow Ropes (then known as Hawkins and Tipson), from 1978 until 1988. While there he developed a new range of Superline parallel-strand type ropes, combining high strength with flexibility and helped develop many of the world-famous Marlow yacht ropes. He also developed state-of-the-art heat treatment equipment for Marlow pre-stretched ropes and developed other new rope production processes.
While at Marlow, he advocated the use of polyester as a superior fatigue-resistant rope material over nylon and polypropylene for most marine applications. Mike researched and pioneered the early understanding and characteristics of the now relatively-well understood six modes of fatigue in synthetic fibre ropes. This work brought him into contact with other researchers in this and related fields.
In 1986 Mike formed a new R & D consultancy, Tension Technology International, to focus on the use of ropes. He invited some of the people he had met and worked with to join him as founding directors of TTI. This “old guard” comprised John Hearle, Hank McKenna, John Flory, Alan Ractliffe, Roger Hobbs, Stephen Banfield, Chris Leech, and later Nick O’Hear. Mike Parsey served as Managing Director from 1986 to 1998. His enthusiasm, vision and guidance saw the successful growth and development of TTI from its early years.
He was one of the organizers of the Fibre Tethers 2000 International Joint Industry Project to study the use of high technology fibres for deepwater mooring lines. As much performance information was then available on the performance of polyester in ropes, he urged that it be included in this program, to serve as a “benchmark” for comparison with Aramids, High Modulus Polyethylene’s, and Liquid Crystal Aromatic Polyesters. The results of that program then showed that polyester was the best alternative for moorings in intermediate water depths. As a direct result of the data achieved in that JIP, polyester ropes were then adopted in the first deepwater platform moorings and remain the norm today.
He also managed the development of TTI’s Fibre Rope Modeller (also known as FRM and formerly GenRope), a set of computer programs which model rope structures to simulate and predict rope strength, response, and cyclic load performance from the properties of the rope making yarns and the rope structure geometry.
Mike is the author of many technical publications, papers and 3 British Patents.
Julie survives him along with his daughters and grandchildren.