The module descriptors for our undergraduate courses can be found below:

  • Four year Aeronautical Engineering degree (H401)
  • Four year Aeronautical Engineering with a Year Abroad stream (H410)

Students on our H420 programme follow the same programme as the H401 spending fourth year in industry.

The descriptors for all programmes are the same (including H411).


Materials 1

Module aims

The course presents information on the microstructure and mechanical response of all classes of engineering and natural materials, aiming and establishing a clear link between the two aspects. It introduces fundamental concepts of stress analysis and mechanics of solids as well as basic aspects of material selection. The students are given access to the course slides and to a detailed reading list entirely based on Volumes 1 and 2 of ‘Engineering Materials’ by Ashby and Jones. The software Cambridge Engineering Selector (CES) is introduced and used as a teaching aid. The course includes a laboratory on materials response.

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing this module you should be able to:

1. Describe the different classes of engineering materials (metals, polymers, ceramics, composites and natural materials) and their properties; 
2. Use the CES software and perform basic materials selection; 
3. Demonstrate understanding of elastic problems in solid mechanics, including governing equations, boundary conditions, change of reference system and Mohr circle construction;
4. Determine mechanical properties via tension, compression and hardness tests; 
5. Demonstrate understanding of the different types of atomic bonding, molecular structure and microstructures, and understanding of mechanisms that control mechanical properties;
6. Calculate and analyse mechanical properties using rules of mixture for 2-phase composites, structure and mechanics of solids.

Module syllabus

Introduction - Engineering materials and their properties; Mechanical response of solids; Stress versus strain response. 
Introduction to the CES software and material selection. 
3D Elasticity; stress and strain tensors; constitutive, equilibrium and compatibility equations; transformations of stress and strain tensors; Inter-atomic forces and different atomic bonds. 
Packing of atoms in solids and physical basis of Young's modulus; Mller's indices. 
Yield strength, tensile strength and ductility; dislocations and yielding in crystals, slip systes.
Plasticity of poly-crystals and strengthening methods. 
Continuum aspects of plastic flow; yield criteria, basic fracture mechanics. 
Compatibility equations, strong form of equilibrium equations. 
Fast fracture and toughness; micromechanics of fracture. 
Metals, polymers, ceramics. 
Micro structure and basic mechanics of composites. 
Natural materials, foams and new materials.

Teaching methods

The module will be delivered primarily through large-class lectures introducing the key concepts and methods, supported by a variety of delivery methods combining the traditional and the technological. The content is presented via a combination of slides, whiteboard and visualiser.

Learning will be reinforced through tutorial question sheets and laboratory exercises, featuring analytical, computational and experimental tasks representative of those carried out by practising engineers.


This module presents opportunities for both formative and summative assessment.  
You will be formatively assessed through progress tests and tutorial sessions.
You will have additional opportunities to self-assess your learning via tutorial problem sheets.
You will be summatively assessed by a written examination at the end of the module as well as through practical laboratory assessments. 

Assessment type Assessment description Weighting Pass mark
Examination Written examination 90% 40%
Practical Laboratory assessment 10% 40%

You will receive feedback both during the laboratory sessions and following the coursework submission.
You will receive feedback on examinations in the form of an examination feedback report on the performance of the entire cohort.
You will receive feedback on your performance whilst undertaking tutorial exercises, during which you will also receive instruction on the correct solution to tutorial problems.
Further individual feedback will be available to you on request via this module’s online feedback forum, through staff office hours and discussions with tutors. 


Reading list