SFY0013 : Materials Science O

Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


1. To give students from varied backgrounds an introduction to materials science, showing how cost, fabrication route and final properties all combine together to determine why a particular material is selected for an application.
2. To give students a basic understanding of the behaviour of metals, ceramics and polymers, and why these constitute the useful range of engineering materials
3. To show how an understanding of materials on the atomic scale can be used to predict properties, and how observation of microstructure is essential for an understanding of actual properties and behaviour.

Outline Of Syllabus

States of matter; solids, liquids, gases; phase diagrams; entropy and free energy.
Chemical bonding: ionic, covalent, metallic and van der Waals; mixed bonding.
Atomic arrangements – in metals and MX solids; packing principles, waste space.
Polymers: structure, formation, behaviour and properties.
Elastic moduli: stiffness; strength of perfect crystals; hardness.
Strength of real solids; stress-strain curves; dislocations; strengthening mechanisms.
Strength of brittle materials; fracture toughness; effect of cracks.
Glass: structure, production, properties and uses.
Electrical properties of materials: conductors, semi-conductors, superconductors and insulators.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture301:0030:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion31:003:00Calculation sheets.
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion115:0015:00Exam Revision
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion12:002:00Written Exam
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical33:009:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching61:006:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study135:0035:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures are the essential vehicle for communicating knowledge of the basic concepts of materials science.
Calculation sheets (three in total) are handed out at regular intervals to reinforce the lectures and give students practice in carrying out typical materials science calculations. These also improve and develop students’ numeracy and mathematical skills, and give experience in problem solving.
Tutorial classes are held every 2-3 weeks to either go over the work covered in calculation sheets or to focus on specific mathematical or other calculation-oriented aspects of the course. This allows students to identify and overcome difficulties experienced whilst doing the calculation sheets.
Laboratory classes are held in the three topics of crystallography, microstructure and mechanical properties. These provide the opportunity for hands-on activity in these three fundamental areas of the subject, and also provide training and skills development in data collection and processing, report writing and also help to reinforce the lecture materials given on these subjects.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1202A70N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report2M15N/A
Prob solv exercises2M153 calculation sheets, 5% each.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Knowledge and understanding are tested by the unseen examination.
Ability to carry out simple calculations in materials science are tested by the calculation sheets.
Practical ability and report writing skills are tested in the laboratory reports.

Reading Lists