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This is a level 7 (Undergraduate Year 4 & MSc) module and students are therefore expected to have a sound basis in materials science as applicable to engineering contexts. This entails an understanding of the structure-property relationship in materials and the way in which manufacturing methods affect the latter.
A grasp of phase equilibria and basic metallography is expected, as is an understanding of the way in which mechanical properties are determined and how engineers utilize materials data to design with, and select, materials. Additionally, an understanding and knowledge of polymer types and processing, how materials can be strengthened, and how products and components are manufactured from materials, is of great utility to this course.
An understanding of the influence upon strength of defects within material, such as cracks, and porosity is helpful.
This module builds upon a basic theory of materials as would be given in the first years of an undergraduate programme, and examines specific areas of materials science which are not normally taught as part of a basic materials curriculum. The module also aims to cover the fundamentals of fracture mechanics, and the theory of fatigue failure in engineering materials, principally from an analytical perspective.
The module is common to 4th year Mechanical Engineering undergraduate students and MSc students from several postgraduate programmes, including those with an emphasis on Marine engineering. Accordingly, several of the topics covered will also refer to materials used in marine environments and attempts will be made to link into this area of engineering. Given the wide range of backgrounds of the students who attend this module, the first few lectures given cover the basics of materials science and may well be revision for some students but totally new for others.
Although many students will have studied materials science and engineering at undergraduate level, the module is designed to provide a common level of knowledge and then to introduce new subject matter such as advanced fracture mechanics and fatigue failure in engineering materials, and to provide a detailed look at some areas of materials application which are not normally covered at undergraduate level. Some of the taught matter is placed in a context that makes it relevant to materials in marine environments, to ensure relevance to students specialising in this field.
The module begins by providing a levelling to the material science knowledge of the course participants (who come from a wide range of academic backgrounds). This is then used as a springboard for dealing with more esoteric and advanced materials based issues which are introduced as discrete case studies in materials science, particularly drawn from relevant and modern contexts (eg materials for MEMS structures, concrete based composites and materials for fuel cell applications).
This module is taught through: