Obituary – EUR ING John Adrian Williams CEng FIMMM

3 Sep 2015

Eur Ing Adrian Williams CEng FIMMM 1940–2015

It is with deep regret that we note the death on 5 March of Eur Ing Adrian Williams at the age of 75. His long professional career centred on the performance of materials at high temperatures, particularly in power generation applications. He made contributions to the development of residual life assessment methodologies for power plant components and to the understanding of related crack growth and creep processes in both homogenous materials and welds. His expertise extended to the welding process itself, including dissimilar and repair welds, and to component monitoring and performance evaluation.

Born in Swansea in 1940, Adrian attended Dynevor Secondary Grammar School, later joining The Old Dyvorians Association. He studied Metallurgy at the University College of Swansea, now Swansea University, and received a BSc, winning the Robiette Medal in Metallurgy and Sir Arthur Smot Prize for Pure Science in 1961, and was subsequently awarded a PhD for research on the properties of alloys above the solidus temperature. The Swansea group was, as today, a leading centre of research to improve the prediction of creep behaviour and to elucidate the underlying microstructural mechanisms. In 1964, he joined the CEGB Central Electricity Research Laboratories at Leatherhead, where he worked on the creep properties of high temperature alloy steels, being one of the early proponents for the application of fracture mechanics to creep crack growth. 

He transferred to CEGB’s Marchwood Engineering Laboratories in Hampshire in 1973, where he became principal engineer in 1978. The materials engineering research programme at Marchwood addressed issues related to manufacturing techniques, with an important focus on welding, design codes, monitoring and inspection, and instrumentation, for both fossil fuelled and nuclear plant. Following the privatisation of the electricity industry the Marchwood laboratories were allocated to PowerGen, and in 1989 Adrian moved to PowerGen’s Ratcliffe-on-Soar R&D facility near Nottingham, as a Section Head. He took early retirement in 1992, and then worked as an independent consultant until shortly before his death. In addition to general consultancy, he was an Industrial Fellow at University of Nottingham, managed several COST and other European R&D programmes and helped to organise many specialist international conferences and seminars. 

Adrian liked, and excelled at, research. He published well over 100 peer-reviewed research papers and review articles. He also served for 15 years, until 2013, on the editorial board of the Institute’s journal International Materials Reviews where his broad knowledge, extensive contacts, and stringent standards led to the commissioning of a number of highly cited reviews. He was himself a co-author of three IMR reviews, on weld repair, remanent life assessment and miniature specimen tests for mechanical properties. He was a chartered Fellow of IOM3 and was granted Eur Ing status in 1988.

Adrian liked jazz and, in his youth, played in a skiffle group. On social occasions he would get up and dance with Barbara, whom he met at college, in their own unusual version of the jive. Adrian collected stamps and used to disappear in London to find out what was being sold locally. He and Barbara were keen gardeners and both enjoyed walking. Adrian belonged to the Ratcliffe-based group of Ramblers. On holiday, Adrian and Barbara preferred a pub or hotel away from it all where they could walk and enjoy local scenery.

Adrian is survived by Barbara and their daughters Anna and Kate.

Alcwyn Price and Mark Hull