Robert A Hadfield (1858-1940)

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Sir Robert Abbott Hadfield, 1st Baronet FRS (28 November 1858, Sheffield-30 September 1940, Surrey) was an English metallurgist, noted for his 1882 discovery of manganese steel, one of the first steel alloys. He also invented silicon steel, initially for mechanical properties (patents in 1886) which have made the alloy a material of choice for springs and some fine blades, though silicon steel has also become important in electrical applications for its magnetic behaviour.Hadfield's father, also named Robert Hadfield, owned Hadfield's Steel Foundry in Sheffield and was one of the first manufacturers of steel castings. The younger Hadfield took over the business in 1888 and built the firm into one of the largest foundries in the world. He published over 200 papers on his metallurgical research. Hadfield was knighted in 1908 and made a baronet, of Sheffield in the West Riding of the County of York, in 1917. He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1909, and a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in 1912. He was awarded the John Fritz Medal in 1921 and the Albert Medal (RSA) in 1935, both for his contributions to metallurgy. Between 1898 and 1939 he lived at Parkhead House in Whirlow, Sheffield.He is commemorated in the Sir Robert Hadfield Building at the University of Sheffield, which contains the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. There is also a wing at the Northern General Hospital named after him. He was awarded the John Scott Medal of The Franklin Institute in 1891.

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