Module Leader

Dr Billy Wu

+44 (0)20 7594 6385

Assessment & Weighting

32.5% Coursework
17.5% Practical
50% Exam

ECTS Credits: 10

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students should be able to:
  • Identify common engineering materials and find data for their properties
  • Describe how atomic structure relates to material properties
  • Select appropriate materials for an application based on their properties
  • Perform basic strength of material laboratory experiments
  • Define the capabilities of a range of common production techniques
  • Select appropriate production techniques for use with different materials and applications
  • Select appropriate methods of assembly and joining for a particular design application


Description of Content

Properties of Materials
Concepts and fundamentals to develop understanding types of materials: metals, polymers, ceramics and composites. The course commences with consideration of the simple properties used by engineers to quantify materials behaviour, such as hardness, strength, toughness etc. The course then considers metals, polymers, ceramics and composites in turn, and relates the basic structure of each material type to its observed behaviour. The course will also consider the human factors associated with materials selection.

The four classes of engineering material:
  • Metals. Ferrous alloys. Carbon steels: Fe-C phase diagram, eutectoid, hypo- and hyper-eutectoid steels, cast iron, heat treatment of steels, annealing, normalising, quenching, tempering, the TTT diagram for eutectoid steel, uses of steel.
  • Ceramics. Crystal structure, ionic, covalent, mechanical properties, applications, processing.
  • Polymers. Classes of polymer, molecular structure, macroscopic structure, glass transition temperature, mechanical properties, applications, processing.
  • Composites. Classification, polymer matrix composites, metal matrix composites, ceramic matrix composites; Performance of polymer matrix composites: critical fibre length, fibre volume fraction, composite stiffness parallel and transverse to fibres, stress-strain response, structural laminates.

Human factors in materials selection: understanding the importance of apprisals, comparing and contrasting technical and aesthetic material properties, assess and select materials based on experiential properties, understand how users perceiev materials and characterise experiential properties.

The course covers mechanical behaviour and practical considerations in the engineering design process: stress-strain behaviour, engineering stress and strain, elastic limit, Young's modulus, Poisson's ratio, elastic-plastic behaviour, strength, true stress and strain, compressive behaviour, hardness toughness (fracture behaviour, brittle-ductile transition), creep deformation and fatigue strength (S-N approach, fatigue limit, strength and life), non-destructive testing. An introduction to the Cambridge Engineering Selector (CES) package for material properties and basic materials selection.

Following on from the materials half of the module, the production half presents an overview of how to process the 4 main categories of materials via solidification based methods and metal working, then looks at surface treatment, joining and assembly considerations of components.
Solidification based material processing techniques include:
  • Casting
  • Polymer processing
  • Polymer composite processing
  • Ceramic processing
  • Additive manufacturing
For metal working this includes covering:
  • Metal forming
  • Machining operations
  • Non-traditional machining operations
For the surface treatment, joining and assembly sections, this will include:
  • Surface treatment processing
  • Welding, brazing and soldering
  • Adhesives
  • Mechanical fasteners
  • Design for assembly
A coursework element focusing on Reverse Engineering (REVENG) will apply this development knowledge of materials and manufacturing.