Peter Hirsch: why understanding the structure of metal matters

Peter Hirsch discuses the practical importance of understanding metals according to their underlying structure.

Well it’s rather important to find out what it – why – you know, what the structure of the deformed metal is like, because if you knew what the structure of a deformed metal is like, if you knew its microstructure then you might think of ways of modifying it. Because – well as a result of – of deforming it under different conditions then you might make the material stronger or weaker, if you know, it is really trying to understand the basis of the mechanical properties of materials. If you cold work a metal and you take something, a bar of copper or whatever it is which is annealed, or aluminium or anything and you could work it, then it hardens. Why does it harden? Why does it become hard? Okay? And what limits its hardness? So from a practical point of view it’s extremely important to try and understand what actually goes on during plastic and deformation. That’s really what my research, you know, was about and this microbeam technique was – was the first step really.

  • Interviewee Peter Hirsch
  • Duration 00:01:21
  • Copyright British Library Board
  • Interviewer Thomas Lean
  • Date of interview 10/4/2012
  • Shelfmark C1379/84

Related themes

Related disciplines