Frank Brian Mercer

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Frank Brian Mercer OBE FRS[1] (22 December 1927 – 22 November 1998) was an English engineer, inventor and businessman.[2]

He was born into a Blackburn family, which for generations had been involved in the textile industry and which owned and controlled companies engaged in spinning, weaving, dyeing and finishing(1) and educated at the Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School, Blackburn.

In the 1950s, he invented the Netlon process, in which plastics are extruded into a net-like process in one stage, winning the Queen’s Award for Technological Achievement. With his inspiration, leadership and drive, he founded Netlon Ltd in 1959 to manufacture the products but most importantly to commercialise the concept. Throughout Brian Mercer’s career, he strongly believed in the importance of cooperative research and development through instigating discussion and debate through international commercial and technical conferences.

In 1978 he became a Fellow of the Institute of Materials and the second person to receive their Prince Philip Award. He was elected a Fellow of the Textile Institute in 1973 and in 1988 it bestowed on him an Honorary Fellowship. In 1981 he received the OBE and in 1984 was made a Fellow of the Royal Society.[3] He made a bequest to the Royal Society to establish the Brian Mercer Award for Feasibility, which is given to allow researchers to investigate the technical and economic feasibility of commercialising an aspect of their scientific research.

Modern Tensar geogrids were invented by Dr. Mercer in the late 1970s and early 1980s for the construction industry to provide stabilisation and reinforcement with the underlying concept of simplicity, flexibility and strength. They are now used throughout the world for soil reinforcement applications.


  1. ^ Ford, H. (2000). "Frank Brian Mercer, O.B.E. 22 December 1927 -- 22 November 1998: Elected F.R.S. 1984". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 46: 345. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1999.0089.
  2. ^ (VJCMercer)
  3. ^ "Lists of Royal Society Fellows 1660-2007". London: The Royal Society. Archived from the original on 24 March 2010. Retrieved 2 October 2010.

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