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British Industrial History

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Constance Fligg Elam

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Constance Fligg Elam (1894–1995), metallurgist and crystallographer

Better known under her married name, Constance Tipper. See Wikipedia and 'Magnificent Women' website.

1894 born in New Barnet, the daughter of William Henry Elam, surgeon, and his wife, Lydia, née Coombes.

Educated at St Felix School, Southwold, followed by Newnham College, Cambridge

1915 Worked briefly in the metallurgical department of the National Physical Laboratory

1916 Started work at the Royal School of Mines

1917 Research assistant to Professor Harold Carpenter

Research on the strength of single crystal aluminium.

Began working in Cambridge where her research, in collaboration with Geoffrey Taylor, led to the modern understanding of crystal plasticity

1926 awarded DSc degree

1928 Married George Howlett Tipper (d. 1947)

1930 Newnham College awarded her a research fellowship.

1936 the Leverhulme Trust awarded her a two-year research fellowship

WWII Investigated fractures in all-welded ships (brittle fracture in large steel structures was an urgent naval problem). Tipper found that the problem in the Liberty ships was that the material became dangerously brittle under certain circumstances. Her work led to the development of the Tipper test for determining the brittleness of steel.

1947 Newnham elected her as an associate fellow

1949 Cambridge University made her a Reader in mechanical engineering.

1960 retired from her formal university post but continued working including consultancy at the Barrow shipyards and on metal bridge construction.

1995 She died at Penrith.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  • Biography of Constance Fligg Tipper, ODNB