Frederick Michael Burdekin was born in Hawarden, North Wales, on February 5th, 1938. He is a British civil engineer and emeritus professor at the University of Manchester (UoM). He attended The King's School, Chester and studied engineering at Cambridge University, graduating in 1959. After fifteen years of industrial research and design experience he moved into his academic career.
Burdekin is a Fellow of the Royal Society and The Royal Academy of Engineering. He has been the Chairman of the Board of the The Welding Institute (TWI) and he collected an OBE at Buckingham Palace for his contributions to nuclear safety in November 2008.
He has been heavily involved in both the Parish Plan and Town Plan for his local community of Bollington. He is also chairman of the governors at Kings School and president of Macclesfield Cricket Club – a role he has held since 1996.
Fracture Mechanics The majority of Burdekin's work involved research into bridges and more specifically welding. His research on fracture mechanics over two decades identified criteria for extension of cracks in structural metals. He contributed to the definition of crack opening displacement, devised methods for its measurement, and conducted many large-scale experiments to verify its use.
Standardised fracture toughness tests
He persevered with practical application of these methods to control fracture initiation in large welded structures, firstly by the analysis of many brittle fracture casualties worldwide at the time of occurrence, and then by the development of standardised fracture toughness tests and standard methods of interpretation, including data from non-destructive methods of detecting and sizing crack-like defects. The British Standard Published Document 6493 pioneered these methods and is now in international use, not least with regard to fracture control of welded steel structures in the UK North Sea; its successful application over the past decade owes much to Burdekin's personal efforts.
Burdekin at Manchester
In 1977 Burdekin relocated to Macclesfield to become head of civil and structural engineering at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST), now UoM. He was a Professor of Civil and Structural Engineering at UMIST from 1977 to 2002 and is now an Emeritus Professor of UoM.