Emeritus Professor Bruce Bilby, who died in November 2013 at the age of 91 years, was among the few pioneers who made great contributions to the understanding of crystal defects, notably of dislocations, in providing precise geometrical descriptions of their form, arrangement, interaction and movement. This has led to a clear and experimentally verifiable interpretation of phenomena that include the occurrence of yield points, strain ageing, mechanisms of twinning and martensitic transformations, and the characteristics of atomic separation that lead to fracture. Bruce’s approach often made use of areas of pure mathematics, whose relevance had not previously been suspected, in elegant descriptions of defected crystal structures. Much of his work is related to the role of defects in metals and alloys in their influence on mechanical properties. It assists in considerations of safety assurance of large structures. It links macroscopic behaviour with phenomena on an atomic scale and has underpinned technological judgements.
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