Materials 2

Module summary

Module code: MECH1069
Level: 5
Credits: 15
School: Engineering and Science
Department: Engineering
Module Coordinator(s): Mark Bingley



The course aims to impart an appreciation of the central place that materials occupy in engineering. After all, engineers make things, and they make them out of materials. An engineer needs to make good choices in his/her selection of materials. To emphasise this, the course will take an applications driven and design approach through the examination of a range of materials selection case studies and challenges, such as selecting materials for the hot end of a gas-turbine engine and preventing failure of aerospace structures. However, it is intended that students also gain an understanding of the complexity of materials, the origin of their properties, to know which material properties are intrinsic and which can be manipulated through manufacturing, processing and heat treatment.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course a student will be able to:
1 Deduce from the function of the component, the required properties of a material, and the reason for selection of that material.
2 Distinguish between the effects of intrinsic bonding, crystal structure and microstructure in determining material properties.
3 Explain the relationship between composition, processing (including heat treatment), microstructure and properties of materials (including failure properties).
4 Select materials for different applications based on knowledge of material properties and taking account of the ability of the materials to be manufactured in the correct form, predict the consequences of materials utilisation on the environment and make eco-informed materials selection choices, use information gathering, research, practical and communication skills.
5 Predict the consequences of materials utilisation on the environment and make eco-informed materials selection choices.
6 Use information gathering, research, practical and communication skills.

Indicative content

Enabling Theory and Background Material:
Crystal structures, phases, introduction to phase diagrams, phase changes, solidification, glass transition, precipitation, grain growth, recrystallization.

Recap of Ashby Materials Selection and Process Selection procedures.

Eco- informed materials choice: resources; life cycle analysis; eco-attributes of materials; eco-informed materials selection.

The Importance of Processing – How to Manipulate Materials Properties
Materials Selection Case Studies and Challenges (Examples are given):

Selection of Materials for Automotive Applications:
Car Bodies – low carbon steels, HSLA and other modern car body steels, aluminium alloys, GFRP.
Engine parts – Q and T steels, alloy steels, cast irons, aluminium alloys, magnesium alloys.
Tyres - elastomers.

Selection of Materials for Oil Rigs (Failure Issues):
Brittle Fracture.
Marine and Sour Gas Corrosion.

Selection of Strong/Stiff/Light Materials for Aerospace Structures and Components:
Aluminium alloys (precipitation hardening), composites, magnesium alloys, smart materials, future materials developments.

Preventing Failure in Aerospace Structures – Designing for Fatigue Resistance.

Materials for the Gas Turbine Engine:
Stainless steels, titanium alloys, nickel base super alloys, inter-metallics, ceramics.

Preventing Failure and Degradation within the Gas Turbine Engine:
High temperature oxidation, hot corrosion, creep of metals (compare with creep of polymers) thermal fatigue, erosion.

Selection of Materials for Buildings and Bridges:
Structural steel, high tensile wire.
Cement and concrete: properties of concrete, concrete mix design, standard test methods, quality control, strength and failure, deformation of concrete.
Reinforced concrete, fibre toughened concrete, high performance ductile concrete, self-healing concrete.
Brickwork and blockwork: masonry construction and forms, structural behaviour, durability.
Wood and timber: properties, stress grading by visual and mechanical means.
Plastics: mixing, properties and modes of failure.
Glass: applications in construction and properties.
Composites: fibre-reinforcement, particle reinforcement, properties, testing.

Materials for Biomedical Applications
Stainless steels, titanium alloys, CoCrMo alloys, polymers, glasses and ceramics, shape memory alloys.

Materials for Domestic Applications – focus on polymers.

Materials for Packaging – focus on polymers, smart materials (e.g. thermochromic materials).

Teaching and learning activity

Teaching will mainly be through formal lectures. Presentation of the course content will be applications driven, examining materials selection issues for a range of diverse applications. Due regard will be given to predictions of future developments in materials usage. Eco-attributes of materials and eco-informed selection will be emphasised. Understanding will be enhanced through tutorials and online teaching materials. Case studies, materials selection and design exercises will be used to extend the subject matter and assess students understanding.

Materials selection software packages will also be utilised. The software will be used to promote independent “enquiry based learning”. A comprehensive laboratory practical programme will further aid understanding of the subject matter, in addition to developing essential practical and laboratory report writing skills. Some of the laboratories will be “open ended” and will therefore develop research and experimental design skills.


Students are required to pass all components in order to pass the course.

In order to meet professional body requirements, students are expected to pass this course at 40% overall and with a minimum of 30% for each component.

Examination - 70%
LO - 1-4.
Pass mark - 40%
2-hour unseen closed book examination.

Coursework/practicals - 30%
LO - 1-6.
Pass mark - 40%
Maximum 7 pages.
A set of laboratories, case studies and design exercises.

Nature of FORMATIVE assessment supporting student learning:
Observations, questioning, discussion, constructive quizzes, practice exam papers.