Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Norman Percy Allen

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Norman Percy Allen (1903–1972), metallurgist

1903 born in Wrexham on 5 June 1903, the fifth of ten children of Sidney Edward Allen, an accountant and his wife, Emily Eliza Davis.

Educated at Burton upon Trent Boys' Grammar School and Sheffield University, where he studied metallurgy under Professor C. H. Desch

1923 Worked in the university on low melting point zinc based die-casting alloys

1925 joined Swansea University College to work on the porosity of copper and copper alloys.

1928 Allen joined Birmingham University as assistant lecturer, where he studied the mechanism responsible for the porosity of commercial tough pitch copper. On the basis of this work Allen was awarded the DSc degree by Birmingham University in 1934.

1929 Married Olive Gwendolen Williams.

1933 Joined Mond Nickel's Research Laboratory in Birmingham, where he remained until 1944.

WWII Allen and his colleagues developed the Nimonic alloys suitable for high temperature applications in gas turbines.

1944 Moved to National Physical Laboratory as superintendent of the metallurgy division, which carried out systematic studies on creep of Nimonic alloys for gas turbines, and on a variety of alloys used in power station components.

1946 Led a long-term investigation to determine the effects of alloying elements on the mechanical properties of pure iron.

1956 Elected FRS

1961-2 president of the Institution of Metallurgists

1963 Allen initiated the superconductivity project, aimed at promoting the application of superconductors in industry.

1966 Appointed deputy director of the NPL

1969 retired from NPL

1972 Died at home in Weybridge

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