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Alan G. Thomas was an international authority on the mechanics of rubbery materials, in particular their fracture mechanics properties. Along with Ronald S. Rivlin, he published the Rupture of Rubber series of articles, beginning in 1953.[2] He was the first to apply Griffith's energy release rate criterion to the analysis of rubber's strength and fatigue behavior.

Alan G. Thomas
Died23 April 2019
Alma materOxford
Known forFracture Mechanics, Rubber
AwardsCharles Goodyear Medal (1994)
Colwyn medal [1] (1978)
Scientific career
FieldsPolymer Science
InstitutionsBRPRA, Queen Mary University of London

Thomas attend Brasenose College, Oxford to study physics, graduating in 1948. He then accepted a position at the British Rubber Producer's Research Association. His research director was Dr Ronald S. Rivlin, who suggested that he study the strength of rubber.

He developed the theories of strength and crack growth in rubber, starting from the work of Alan Arnold Griffith.[3] He demonstrated that Griffith's strain energy release rate provided a useful way to characterize the conditions at a crack tip, a problem that previously had been thought intractable due to the finite straining and nonlinearly elastic stress-strain behavior of rubber.

Thomas has been recognised with many prizes and medals. Most notable of these are the 1978 Colwyn medal [4] of the Institute of Materials Minerals and Mining and the 1994 Charles Goodyear Medal of the American Chemical Society.[5] His employers MRPRA, received the Prince Philip award in 1990 for his pioneering work on earthquake bearings.

He was a visiting Professor in the Materials Department at Queen Mary University of London since 1975.[citation needed]

Prof Alan Thomas died in his sleep on 23 April 2019.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Colwyn Medal award winners". iom3. IOM3. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  2. ^ Rivlin, R. S., & Thomas, A. G. (1953). Rupture of rubber. I. Characteristic energy for tearing. Journal of Polymer Science, 10(3), 291-318.
  3. ^ "The phenomenon of rupture and flow in solids", Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, Vol. A221 pp.163-98
  4. ^ "IOM3 Awards website"
  5. ^ "CHARLES GOODYEAR MEDALISTS, 1941-2014". Rubber and Plastics News. 28 April 2014. Retrieved 8 September 2017.

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