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Fellows Directory

Kenneth Johnson

Kenneth Johnson

Professor Kenneth Johnson FREng FRS


Elected: 1982


Since his entry into the field of contact mechanics in 1955 with a classical Royal Society paper on fretting at the edges of a Hertzian contact, Kenneth Johnson made continuous major contributions to the elucidation of a host of problems in this field and in associated areas of research. His approach to engineering physics involved simple physical assumptions, penetrating analysis and where necessary critical and elegant experiments.

Kenneth’s work included indentation hardness and creep, cumulative subsurface deformation in rolling and the establishment of shakedown conditions, surface energy and its role in the adhesion of elastic solids, a constitutive equation of state involving both elastic and viscous properties of elastohydrodynamic oil films. He was of the outstanding figures in contact mechanics in the United Kingdom and Europe.

Professor Kenneth Johnson FRS died on 21 September 2015.

Biographical Memoir

Interest and expertise

Subject groups

  • Engineering
    • Engineering, mechanical, Materials science (incl materials engineering)


  • Royal Medals

    For his outstanding work in the field of contact mechanics. His work his characterised by elegant experiments, skilful analyses and insightful explanations of observed phenomena.

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