paper-plane envelope home office pencil quill pen image images camera play bullhorn connection mic file-text2 file-picture file-music file-play file-video copy folder folder-open folder-plus folder-minus folder-download folder-upload price-tag price-tags ticket phone envelop pushpin location compass map map2 clock alarm fax mobile bubble bubbles user users user-plus user-minus user-check quotes-left quotes-right search pie-chart stats-dots stats-bars airplane cloud-download cloud-upload earth link flag eye eye-blocked arrow-up-left arrow-up arrow-up-right arrow-right arrow-down-right arrow-down arrow-down-left arrow-left2 share amazon google-plus google-drive facebook instagram twitter rss youtube flickr dropbox linkedin file-pdf file-openoffice file-word file-excel

UCL Mechanical Engineering
Faculty of Engineering Sciences


MECH205P Engineering Materials: Failure and Design

This course is somewhat unique in materials teaching in that it delivers the required aspects of standard materials theory for 2nd year engineers, but does so within a context of design and in particular, failure of design to deliver the desired effect. In this respect, the course aims to educate and inform by bitter experience as well as by the more conventional textbook approach.

Two main threads are explored in this course: Materials, and Failure of materials & how these aspects link into product design and manufacturing technology. The main aims are as follows:

  1. To build upon the theory of materials given in Year 1 through a detailed examination of the principal alloy systems employed in engineering, their main characteristics, uses and heat
  1. To deliver a basic understanding of the theory of other classes of material, including polymers, ceramics and composites, and their selection in engineering design.
  1. To understand the modes and mechanisms by which materials and components fail in service and the engineering and manufacturing solutions available to combat such failure.
  1. To relate all such information to the design of components and products and to illustrate the strong linkage between design and materials issues, and to the way in which components are manufactured.
  1. To equip students with a sense that they have a responsibility to society to produce products that are fit for use, safe and long lasting, as well as cost effective and profitable for their employer.
Code: MECH205P
Alt Codes: None
Title: Engineering Materials: Failure and Design
UCL Credits/ECTS: 0.5/7.5
Start: September
End: April
Taught by: Dr. Adam Wojcik


  • MECH105P Fundamentals of Materials

Method of Instruction

Weekly lectures, supported by some tutorials, plus bookable consultancy sessions for the Failure Analysis Case Study (FACS).

Note that Engineering (Mechanical with Business Finance) will take this module in the 3rd year.


The course will have the following assessment components:

  • Examination (3 hours, 75%)
  • Case study (Group) (20%)
  • Problem sheet (5%)

To pass this course students must:

  • Obtain an overall pass mark of 40% for all sections combined.


The module builds on the introductory material covered in MECH105P (Fundamentals of Materials). It is taught in two complimentary halves – engineering materials and failure.

Engineering materials

  • Properties Structure, phase diagrams of and uses of:
  • Steels
  • Cast Irons
  • Al Alloys
  • Cu Alloys
  • Ni Alloys
  • Ti Alloys
  • Ceramics: including glasses.
  • Composites: A brief introduction.



The main methods of failure will be studied including design implications

  • Fracture
  • Fatigue
  • Corrosion
  • Creep

MECH205P Engineering Materials: Failure and Design

General Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this module students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a deep knowledge of the principal structural metals available to engineers, and their heat treatments, properties, microstructures, benefits and pitfalls.
  • Demonstrate a basic knowledge of how ceramics and composites complement metals and can replace them, depending on end-use.
  • Better select materials on the basis of their properties and characteristics for a particular end-use/application.
  • Demonstrate a sound knowledge of the mechanisms of failure of engineering materials, and how these must be taken into account during the design process.
Back to top