Module Details

The information contained in this module specification was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change, either during the session because of unforeseen circumstances, or following review of the module at the end of the session. Queries about the module should be directed to the member of staff with responsibility for the module.
Code MATS520
Coordinator Prof PR Chalker
Mechanical, Materials & Aerospace Eng
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2020-21 Level 7 FHEQ First Semester 15


This module will introduce the student to the concepts of materials processing and selection and the criteria used in these processes. The broad scope of manufacturing and processing technologies for metals, ceramics and polymers will be introduced. This will be followed by development of a deeper appreciation of the influence of processing upon the structure and properties of these materials.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Knowledge and understanding of a broad range of advanced metal, polymer and ceramic processing techniques and manufacturing technology. 

(LO2) Appreciation of how the processing of materials affects their microstructure and properties.

(LO3) Understanding of heat-treatment processes in the context of materials processing

(LO4) Appreciation of the factors which are important in the selection of a material and fabrication process to produce components with specific mechanical and other properties

(S1) Problem solving skills

(S2) Numeracy

(S3) IT skills

(S4) Commercial awareness



Weeks 1-4 -CERAMICS. Overview of ceramics: physical properties, glasses, engineering ceramics, composites, applications, fabrication methods.
Fracture Toughness: brittle fracture, Griffith's criterion, critical stress intensity factor, Weibull statistics, design criteria, micro-structural toughening.
Creep Deformation: dislocation creep, Herring-Nabarro and Coble creep, deformation maps, micro-structural strengthening. Thermal
Shock Resistance: thermal expansion and conductivity, resilience to quenching, design criteria.
Electrical Applications: piezo- and pyro-electricity, dielectric and ferro-electric materials, gas sensors, superconducting tapes and films.

Weeks 5-8 -POLYMERS and COMPOSITES. Manufacturing techniques for polymers : Extrusion, co-extrusion, blown-film extrusion, blow moulding, injection blow-moulding compression moulding, injection moulding, rotational moulding and thermo-forming of polymers. Joining techniques for poly mers: ultrasonic, spin, vibration welding, induction, hot plate and hot gas welding.
Mechanical properties of polymers: Typical stress-strain curves for thermosets and thermoplastics, fracture properties of polymers, failure mechanisms such as crazing.
An introduction to composite materials: Fibre types, micro-mechanical properties, manufacturing techniques and typical applications.

Weeks 9-12 -METALS AND ALLOYS. Steels and Cast irons: Production, heat treatment, processing, special steels (e.g. for tooling, car bodywork, stainless etc).
Aluminium alloys : Production, heat treatment. Wrought alloys, processing, International Alloy Designation System. Cast alloys. Applications.
Titanium alloys: Production. Classification - a, a/b, b, micro-structure, heat treatments. Applications.
Super alloys: Performance requirements. Functions of alloying elements, micro-structure, fabrication techniques.
Weeks 4, 8 and 12 -MATERIALS SELECTION. Three 12-hour Materials Selection and costing coursework exercises using CES Computer-based Software. The need for materials selection. Material property charts to aid the selection process. Derivation of performance indices for design for stiffness, strength, fracture toughness, thermal distortion, shock resistance.

Self-study directed reading: the state-of-art in specific aspects of materials processing and selection will be introduced by a directed reading list from professional and industrial publications.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Teaching Method 1 – Lecture.
Description: – Synchronous teaching sessions weekly using Teams or Zoom to replace lectures, supplemented by provision of asynchronous self-study materials in Vital. The synchronous teaching sessions, and asynchronous provision of self-study materials, are to replace conventional lectures, used to provide a contextual overview of the technologies and practices used in manufacturing with materials and materials selection criteria.
These learning and teaching methods will be used for hybrid delivery, with social distancing on campus, as planned for semester 1. The following changes may be required in response to circumstances:
(b) fully online delivery and assessment, (i.e. if full lockdown is necessary): The on-campus lab work will be stopped and whenever possible replaced by a video or similar and provision of pre-prepared datasets and experimental results for analysis and report-writing.
(c) standard on-campus delivery wit h minimal social distancing: The synchronous Teams/Zoom remote teaching sessions may return to being on-campus lectures.
Attendance Recorded: Yes

Teaching Method 2 – Materials selection (CES) and Case Based Learning
Attendance Recorded: No

Teaching Method 3 - Other
Attendance Recorded: No

Teaching Schedule

  Lectures Seminars Tutorials Lab Practicals Fieldwork Placement Other TOTAL
Study Hours 24



Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 88


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Assessment 4 There is a resit opportunity. Assessment Schedule (When): End semester 1  3 hours    70       
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Assessment 3 There is resit opportunity. Assessment Schedule (When): Week 12  12 Hours    10       
Assessment 1 There is resit opportunity. Assessment Schedule (When): Week 4  12 hours    10       
Assessment 2 There is resit opportunity. Assessment Schedule (When): Week 8  12 Hours    10       

Recommended Texts

Reading lists are managed at Click here to access the reading lists for this module.