Oral history of British science
King, Julia (Part 5 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 5: Remarks on Rolls-Royce: prevailing of memos in Rolls-Royce; anecdote about Rolls-Royce personal mail codes become nicknames; Rolls-Royce quality system and large manuals used to ensure safety; audits by aviation authorities; anecdote about Steve Arnott's approach to audits; [05:00] high quality of people in Rolls-Royce ensuring quality of work; transfer of quality system to online processed based system; pressure from other groups, materials sometimes blamed for design problems. [08:50] Remarks on tough period early in Rolls-Royce career: some staff reductions; tight research and development funding; JK concerns over competition to gain research funding, meetings with Phil Ruffles to determine which projects were perused. [12:10] Description of R&D example of powder forming for high pressure turbine disc: earlier failures by GE in development of Rene 95 powder formed discs; large size of discs making it difficult to detect faults; details of production methods and sources of defects; challenges in working out lifing; difficulties of small cracks; use of neural networks to optimise alloys, building on earlier work in JC's group at Cambridge with Harry Bhadeshia. [18:10] Description of powder forming of discs. [21:40] Comments on: factors affecting balance between in service, design and research and development work; having around 240 staff; enjoying work, dream job for a metallurgist in UK, importance of Rolls-Royce materials; [25:45] loyalty and experience of long serving Rolls-Royce staff; JK adding value by providing a deeper understanding of technical issues from a different background in the face of long established techniques, with example of striation testing; [31:40] difficulty with conference funding during financially tight times. [32:13] Comments on Rolls-Royce university partners: cultural difficulties within Rolls-Royce in involving universities closely; critical importance of a good interface person between Rolls-Royce and university.
Interview with materials scientist Professor Dame Julia King