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Rights: The University of Waikato
Published 21 July 2007

Dr Bill Robinson of Robinson Seismic, inventor of the lead rubber bearing, explains how his understanding of metals helped him invent the lead rubber bearing. Physical metallurgy is the science of making products out of metal.


The reason why I did a PhD in metallurgy was that in doing my mechanical engineering degree I found that one of the limitations was actually the behaviour of the materials so you needed to understand material behaviour to be able to be a good mechanical engineering and you needed further development of the materials. I mean most of the changes we have had in society are related to improvements in materials. My understanding of metallurgy enabled me to come up with the idea of the lead as a damping material. Without the metallurgical understanding, I would not have been able to come up with the idea of the lead extrusion damper, and then following up with the lead rubber bearing. So I needed to understand the plasticity behaviour and also the recovery and the recrystallisation of lead as a material - as a metal.

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