Oral history of British science

Moreton, Roger (Part 7 of 8). An Oral History of British Science.

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  • Subjects

    Materials Science

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  • Recording locations

    Interviewee's home, Fleet

  • Interviewees

    Moreton, Roger, 1935- (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Lean, Thomas (speaker, male)

  • Abstract

    Part 7: Roger Moreton [RM]: remarks on social life at RAE: clubs and societies, RM in rugby club until marriage; squash; RM experiences with RAE gliding club, writing off of a glider; [06:20] other members of gliding club, Anne Burns; RM playing cricket until joining RAE sailing club; glider pilot Anne Burns. [08:20] Remarks on women at the RAE: quite a few in lower grades; handful of female characters in top jobs, such as Miss Shilling, whose husband took RM round on the day of his interview. [10:00] Remarks on: membership of RAE squash club; RM taking up squash whilst on National Service and playing fives at school; membership of rugby club; RM member of Fleet cricket team; opponents of RAE teams; Rugby team matches against French counterparts at ONERA [Office National d'√Čtudes et de Recherches A√©rospatiales], for which RM also gave a lecture on CF. [16:40] Remarks on: marriage in 1962; RAE accommodation in staff quarters; story about teaching friend to drive, through which he met his future wife; brother in law's John Basher's career in computing at RAE and Winfrith; wife April's career in Ministry of Agriculture; anecdote about RM helping wife to test chickens. [23:00] Remarks on daughter Helen: grandchildren; occupation as school teaching assistant; travelling experiences in New Zealand and elsewhere; job at Taylor Woodrow; possible emigration complicated by point system; born 1960s; [29:20] change in outlook on becoming a parent; anecdote about worries over grandchildren to a farm. [31:40] Remarks on: family life in 1960s and 70's, wife giving up work while daughter young. Stories about wife helping police and RSPCA with injured birds, as result of volunteering to help clear up after Torrey Canyon disaster. [39:30] Remarks on: wife finding his answers about work too detailed; conversations with other, non-technical, people about work; explaining CF to non-specialists; not talking about work too much because average person uninterested. [43:30] Comments on career post CF in tribology section: working in friction and wear; use of CF bearings on Concorde; group working under special merit promoted John Lancaster; RM work on dry bearings; polymer friction and wear properties; use of dry bearings in helicopters; [49:25] rain erosion work in section; RM work testing characteristics of metallic glasses, metallic glass applications, work with Sheffield University; [54:00] advantages of working with Universities. [55:05] Remarks on tribology section: split between rain erosion and frictions and wear; whirling arm used for rain erosion work; bird impact tests at Pendyn Sands; RM position working on various projects; mechanism of PTFE bearings; [59:30] RM discussions with John Lancaster over applications of better bearings. [1:01:55] Remarks on: John Lancaster as a boss compared to Bill Watt; RM views on purpose of RAE research, compared to John Lancaster, basic and applied research; decline of basic research in RM later's career; realisation in later career that people were trying to repeat research. [1:07:00] Remarks on RM later work on metal matrix composite: definition of composite material; use of aluminium alloys with silicon carbide as filler; anecdote about old verses new perspectives on impurities in aluminium alloys; description of power metallurgy; industry atomisation processes to make aluminium powder; worries over safety of atomiser; aluminium-silicon carbide composite materials; [1:14:00] competition from CF reinforced plastic; advantages of particulate reinforced aluminium; applications in racing cars and brakes; collaboration with small company previously part of BP; use of material in bikes; [1:18:00] working arrangements with BP, who had a management perspective; applications in aircraft and missiles, such as Seawolf missile fins. [1:22:35] Remarks on: career path between different departments, moves after meeting with manager; RM feeling he needed a change from Carbon Fibre; RM move to metal matrix composites to strengthen work after an interview; RM learning about bearings; [1:26:45] easy transition between different sorts of work; early work in tribology department on humidity effects on plastic bearings. [1:29:50] Description of methods and equipment for testing friction and wear. [1:33:00] Remarks on: personal computing at tribology department; RM writing own programs to calculate results occasionally; anecdote about finding programs in a book; computers importance to metal matrix section due to their use in air crash investigations; anecdote about RM impressing consultant for his hip replacement with knowledge of tribology; RM wait for hip replacement making practical work difficult, leaving him with financial and administration work. [1:38:20] Remarks on: being left to do whatever work he liked in later career; risks and problems of section rolling mill; technicians, including personnel from BP; lunches at Swan Hotel. [1:42:20] Description of metal matrix composites facilities: well equipped laboratory, with optical and electron microscopes, analysers; use of RAE foundry facilities and furnaces for making Aluminium Lithium Alloys; ovens to age alloys; mechanical testing group; bringing together of work in reports; hot and cold rolling mills; hot press. [1:48:50] Remarks on testing of materials or sending to commercial companies for further processing/

  • Description

    Life story interview with materials scientist Roger Moreton.

  • Related links

    Visit this interviewee's page on the 'Voices of Science' web resource

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