Mike Smith was appointed to the Chair of Welding Technology at Manchester University in May 2013 after thirty years as a structural integrity specialist in the aerospace and nuclear industries.
Mike started his career as an engineering apprentice at British Aerospace, and obtained both BA (in Engineering) and PhD at Churchill College, Cambridge, the latter studying the behaviour of fatigue cracks in metals under shear loading (so-called Mode II). He then spent five years at British Aerospace, working on the performance of spacecraft structures, especially their behaviour under dynamic launch loads and their tolerance to structural defects, before moving to the other end of the component mass spectrum and joining the Central Electricity Generating Board to work on the structural integrity of nuclear power plants.
Mike spent 23 years at the CEGB and its successor companies, Nuclear Electric, British Energy, and EDF Energy. Initially he worked on the structural integrity safety case for the Sizewell 'B' pressurised water reactor, examining the response of key plant items to severe accident conditions, before moving into lifetime management of the advanced gas cooled reactor fleet, and then into structural performance research and development activities. Here his responsibilities were two-fold: first, to embody research results into the internationally-recognised R5 and R6 structural integrity assessment procedures, which cover a wide range of degradation mechanisms and failure modes, at both low temperatures (R6) and high temperatures (R5); and second, to apply his expertise to the solution of major structural performance issues on operating nuclear plant, the development of structural integrity-based safety cases, and their presentation to key stakeholders inside and outside EDF, including the Office of Nuclear Regulation (ONR).
Mike's current research interests are focussed upon extending "conventional" continuum mechanics weld modelling into a multi-disciplinary tool that can predict both continuum parameters such as stress & distortion, and microstructural parameters such as grain size and shape, the occurrence of secondary phases, and precipitate distributions; and hence both directly predict long term structural performance and be used for "virtual prototyping" of weld processes and procedures for novel welding processes.
Mike's research has been supported by the award, in late 2013, of a five-year EPSRC Manufacturing Fellowship, entitled A whole-life approach to the development of high integrity welding technologies for Generation IV fast reactors.
Mike is Director of the EDF Modelling and Simulation Centre (MaSC).