Constance Tipper

Constance TipperConstance Tipper was one of the first women to take the Natural Sciences Tripos, in 1915. Her major research contribution was to discover why during the Second World War the Liberty Ships were breaking in two.

Working from the Engineering Department in Cambridge, Tipper established that there is a critical temperature below which the fracture in steel changes from ductile to brittle. The Liberty Ships in the North Atlantic were subjected to such low temperatures that they would have been susceptible to brittle failure.

The full implications of her work were not realised until the 1950s but after that, the ‘Tipper test’ became the standard method for determining this form of brittleness in steel.