In any engineering activity the performance of materials needs to be understood to ensure that the processes of design and manufacture can consistently deliver new products to the market in a controlled and safe manner. Today, with more and more environmental legislation and greater and greater competition, the engineer is tasked with using less and less materials, which in turn means they have to be proportionately more reliable and their properties even better controlled.
Many aspects affect material properties. At the most basic level the arrangement of the individual atoms within the structure is important. The next level of importance is due to the inhomogeneous nature of materials. Many will contain areas (phases) that are chemically dissimilar to others (normally these are of the order of a few microns to a millimetre in size). Sometimes these are intentional, at other times they are bi-products of the method of the material's manufacture. At an even coarser scale (visible to the naked eye), are material discontinuities in the form of holes or cracks. Furthermore, component geometry may actually produce structures that act in a similar way to cracks, as can the manufacturing process.
As all these aspects can affect the properties, a thorough and complete understanding is necessary to ensure consistent performance of products.
- Basic structures of materials
- Properties of those materials and the relationship to the structure
- Manufacturing processes - relating back to structure and showing how the variants of the processes arise because of this relationship
At the end of the module the student should be able to:
- Understand the nature of materials, information and systems and be able to select appropriate materials for engineering use
- Understand and be able to describe how to exploit the structure-property relationship in order to enhance the utility of engineering materials in use and in manufacture
- Appreciate the available range and limitations of manufacturing processes and propose suitable processes for simple products
- Appreciate the basic concepts and the terminology of materials science as applied in all major branches of engineering so that they are sufficiently able to hold discussions with specialists in a multi-disciplinary team
- Demonstrate an advance in their ability to learn new material and techniques
- Demonstrate an improvement in their cognitive skills
- Communicate in a professional and scientific manner
- Exercise good time management
Five days, Monday to Friday