Module information on this degree can be found below, separated by year of study.

The module information below applies for the current academic year. The academic year runs from August to July; the 'current year' switches over at the end of July.

Students select optional courses subject to rules specified in the Mechanical Engineering Student Handbook,  for example at most three Design and Business courses. Please note that numbers are limited on some optional courses and selection criteria will apply.

Materials 1

Module aims

To introduce students to the important mechanical properties that mechanical engineers require knowledge of and to introduce the concept and practice of materials selection.  The links between material structure, processing and properties are emphasised. Topics include tensile and fracture properties, material selection, atomic bonding, crystal structure and strengthening.  Also included is a focus on the four classes of engineering material: metals, ceramics, polymers and composites, considering the structure, properties and engineering applications of each. Practice in testing of materials is included.  

ECTS units: 5

Learning outcomes

On completion of this module students will be able to:

1. Select appropriate materials for common applications, based upon simple selection criteria, and by using Ashby maps.  

2. Describe how selected material properties can be measured and to interpret the common format in which this information is presented.  

3. Explain atomic structure, and types of interatomic bonding and how atoms pack together to form the HCP, FCC and BCC structures.  

4. Explain the difference between elastic and plastic deformation in atomic terms and be able to identify the slip systems in each structure, relating this to brittle or ductile behaviour.  

5. Describe why alloys are used, and how they work, and to draw and interpret an equilibrium phase diagram. 

6. Explain the various ways in which a metal can be strengthened, including non ferrous metals and  carbon steels.  

7. Explain the main structural and property differences between metals, ceramics, polymers and composites,  the strengths and limitations of each material class and state typical applications of each.  

8. Explain the key issues regarding the sustainability of man's use of materials. 

Module syllabus

Material Properties. 

Introduction to engineering materials and their properties. 

The four classes of engineering material. 

Mechanical behaviour


Crystal structure and deformation of crystalline materials

Metallic alloys

Metals- ferrous alloys. 

Carbon steels




Teaching methods

Allocation of study hours  
Lectures 24
Group teaching 10
Lab/ practical  
Other scheduled  
Independent study 91
Total hours 125
ECTS ratio 25


Assessment type Assessment description Weighting Grading method Pass mark Must pass?
Examination 1.5 Hour exam 95% Numeric 40% Y
Examination Progress test 5%   40% N

Reading list


Module leaders

Professor Bamber Blackman