Oral history of British science
King, Julia (Part 4 of 9). An Oral History of British Science.
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Interviewee's office, Aston University, Birmingham
King, Julia, 1954- (speaker, female)
Lean, Thomas (speaker, male)
Part 4: Story about receiving job offer from Rolls-Royce: Frank Litchfield visiting university technology centre, phone call to Colin Humphreys from Phil Ruffles, curious interview at Rolls-Royce, wondering where her academic career would take her. [03:55] Remarks on academia compared to industry: warning notes from colleagues, such as Mike Ashby; academic view of industry as hostile environment, compared to the harmonious team work at Rolls-Royce; rapid ability of industry to get things done compared to academia; straightforward nature of management in industry compared to academia. [08:30] Anecdote about her formal clothing choice for Rolls-Royce interview, Rolls-Royce formally polite atmosphere. [10:35] Remarks on: first impressions of Rolls-Royce senior staff as suit wearing males; effective teamwork at Rolls-Royce compared to academia; freedom in universities compared to industry. [14:20] Remarks on Rolls-Royce: running head of materials lab, responsible for engine materials and lifing of engine parts; Rolls-Royce organisational structure, materials lab reporting to Frank Litchfield of component engineering; team-working of departments in design of an engine, blackboxing of group activities; [19:25] development and support of current and future engines; anecdote about Olympus engine engineering team reporting a carpet sucked into an engine; JK interest in finding out what happened to engines in service, allowing problems to be identified early. [23:35] Descriptions of example Rolls-Royce work solving an in-service problem with cracking in wide chord fan blade due to embrittlement at a joint, work to understand metallurgy and improve production process. [29:30] Further remarks on investigating fan blade problem: cutting up and analysing fan blades; analysing blade during production; working with NPL and DERA laboratories; lots of basic metallurgy. [31:20] Descriptions of: older blade production methods using brazing; new blade production method using titanium-titanium diffusion bonding in a clean environment. [36:20] Description of materials laboratory role in design of high pressure turbine disc: analysis of conditions; developing Waspaloy alloy to allow use at higher temperatures, building databases of Waspaloy under different conditions; improvement of materials and testing of new materials for use in new engine design. [40:54] Remarks on methods of work: analytical work for lifing; materials databases; component testing to produce databases to life components; modelling of how components made of materials will work. [45:30] Remarks on working environments: lab at Bristol; description of main materials laboratory in dilapidated building in Derby on Elton Road and its facilities; support staff, Steve Arnott, PA. [48:53] Remarks on changes in communication, memos, post and phone calls.
Interview with materials scientist Professor Dame Julia King