Whyte, Robert Roger 1911

Nationality:
British

Started at Metropolitan-Vickers Electrical Company as a Vacation Apprentice and College Apprentice between 1930 and 1935. Worked in the Mechanical Production Department and the Mechanical Department as an Assistant Superintendent, and then the Gas Turbine Department as Superintendent of the Barton Works.

RR Whyte was an engineer with Metropolitan Vickers during the whole time that they made gas turbines, and was responsible for building them. He became Superintendent of the Gas Turbine Department in the late 1940s, and eventually became responsible for building turbines of all types at Trafford Park. He was a member of the Manufacturing Sub-Committee of the Gas Turbine Collaboration Committee, set up in 1941 by the Ministry of Aircraft Production.

As well as presenting several papers on manufacturing, particularly of blades, to the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, he edited two books, "Engineering Progress through Failure", and "Engineering Progress through Development", both published by the I. Mech. E., in 1975 and 1978 respectively. His work had brought him into regular contact with Dr DM Smith, FRS, who was highly respected for his work on the design of gas turbines, and when Dr Smith died, he assisted with the preparation of the obituary for the Royal Society.

A new challenge presented by gas turbines was the manufacture of large numbers of compressor and turbine blades: axial compressors, as made by M. V., needed blades made to a higher precision and of more complex form than turbines, either gas-turbine turbines or the steam turbines which M. V. had made for many years; gas-turbine turbine blades needed new high temperature materials which were more difficult to machine than steam turbine blades; the engines, particularly jet engines, would be made in much larger numbers than steam turbines had ever been. These needs led to the development of new machines and techniques by both engine makers and machine-tool makers.