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UCL Mechanical Engineering
Faculty of Engineering Sciences


MECH0015 Engineering Materials: Failure and Design

MECH0015 Engineering Materials: Failure and Design

FHEQ Level:
5 (Undergraduate Yr 2)
Term 2
UCL / ECTS Credits:
15 UCL / 7.5 ECTS
Previous Module Code:
MECH0007 Fundamentals of Materials 1

Taught By

Dr Adam Wojcik (Module Coordinator):
Adam Wojcik

Module Overview

This module is somewhat unique in materials teaching in that it delivers the required aspects of standard materials theory for second 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 module aims to educate and inform by bitter experience as well as by the more conventional textbook approach.

Two main threads are explored in the module: materials, and failure of materials and how these aspects link into product design and manufacturing technology. The main aims are:

  • 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 treatments.
  • To deliver a basic understanding of the theory of other classes of material, including polymers, ceramics and composites, and their selection in engineering design.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Topics Covered

The module builds on the introductory material covered in MECH0007 Fundamentals of Materials. It is taught in two complimentary halves: engineering materials and failure.

Engineering Materials

  • Steels
  • Alloy steels
  • Cast irons
  • Al alloys
  • Cu alloys
  • Ni alloys
  • Ti alloys
  • Ceramics and glasses
  • Composites: a brief introduction


  • Fracture
  • Fatigue
  • Corrosion
  • Creep

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this module students will 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.

Method of Instruction

This module is taught through:

  • Lectures
  • Tutorials


This module is assessed through a combination of unseen written examination and coursework exercises.

For more information about assessment please contact

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