Robert McMeeking is a world-leading Scientist in the field of the Mechanics of Materials. He has made seminal contributions ranging from finite strain plasticity theory and its computational implementation within finite element codes to the coupling of solid mechanics and other physics in order to address a wide range of problems in engineering science. His work bridges modern solid mechanics to materials science and irreversible thermodynamics, with immediate application to the ductile fracture of alloys by void growth, to cleavage fracture by hydrogen embrittlement and to the failure of dielectrics, ferroelectrics and Li ion batteries. His papers have enjoyed a long-lasting impact due to his ability to select problems of enduring significance. For example, the sintering of engineering materials now underpins the theory of additive manufacture, and his theoretical framework on interfacial fracture underpins the modern-day design of multi-layers under thermo-mechanical loading, such as silicon chips with 3D interconnects and ceramic composite parts in the next generation of gas turbines (of direct significance to GE, Siemens and Rolls-Royce).
He is a major force on the world stage of mechanics. He has mentored many eminent mechanics researchers, and he continues to work closely with UK researchers at the Universities of Aberdeen and Cambridge. He has been recognised internationally for his many contributions (for example, FREng, US National Academy of Engineering) along with the 2 premier mechanics prizes (ASME Timoshenko medal and the Prager medal). He remains very active and is a selfless member of the community; he has served as Editor-in-chief of the Journal of Applied Mechanics, and is currently President of the International Congress on Fracture.
Robert McMeeking has made highly original and influential contributions on a wide range of topics within the overall field of Micromechanics: the relationship between microstructure, performance and failure of engineering materials across the length scales and time scales. By combining new theoretical and computational insights he has explained the microstructural basis for a wide range of important phenomena, ranging from the ductile fracture and hydrogen embrittlement of metallic alloys to actuating materials such as ferroelectrics and dielectrics. He has inspired a whole new generation of mechanics researchers in Engineering and Materials Science both in the US and in the UK.