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Last modified: 25 Mar 2016 11:34

Course Overview

The course focuses, initially, on the major groups of solid materials – metals, ceramics, polymers, and provides an introduction to materials selection. Strengthening mechanisms in these systems and the relationship between microstructure and mechanical properties are highlighted. The main failure and degradation processes of materials in service, fracture, fatigue, creep and corrosion, are considered. The major welding and adhesive bonding processes are introduced, and structural integrity of welded joints is examined. Finally, the course gives a comprehensive introduction to composite materials and motivation for their use in current structural applications. Manufacturing of different types of composites is reviewed.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 3
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus None. Sustained Study No
  • Professor Igor Guz

Qualification Prerequisites


What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?

Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

1.      Introduction to Materials Selection. Selection strategies; Translation, screening and documentation; Ranking using material indices. CES EduPack materials selector software.

2.      Deformation and Strengthening Mechanisms. Dislocations and materials classes, dislocation motion in metals; Strategies for strengthening metals and alloys, grain size reduction, solid-solutions strengthening (alloying), precipitation strengthening (age hardening), cold working (strain hardening); Heat treatment, recovery, recrystallization and grain growth; Deformation mechanisms for ceramic materials; Brittle crosslinked and network polymers, semicrystalline (plastic) polymers, elastomers.

3.    Failure and Degradation. Mechanical failure, ductile and brittle fracture behaviour in metals, ceramics and polymers; Crack propagation: linear-elastic fracture mechanics, strain energy release rate and fracture toughness, elastic-plastic fracture mechanics, crack opening displacement, design against crack growth; Impact fracture testing; Fatigue behaviour: S-N curves, endurance, cumulative damage, fatigue crack growth, Paris Law, improving fatigue life; Creep and viscoelastic behaviour: primary, secondary and tertiary creep, creep rupture testing, Larson-Miller parameter, Master Creep Curves, stress relaxation, viscoelasticity of plastics, isometric and isochronous curves; Corrosion of metals: forms of corrosion, electrochemical corrosion, Standard Hydrogen Electrode, standard emf Series, Nernst equation, corrosion rates, the galvanic Series, corrosion prevention.  

4.    Joining. Welding, brazing and soldering, fusion welding processes and parameters; heat-affected zone (HAZ) in welding, distortion and cracking in welds, structural integrity of welded joints; Adhesive bonding.

5.      Basic Concepts and Characteristics of Composite Materials. Advantages and limitations of composites; Applications of composites; Types and classification of composites; Composites as anisotropic materials; Constituent materials and their properties, overview of different types of reinforcements and matrices; Reinforcement-matrix interface. Manufacturing of fibrous composites: Polymer matrix composites, metal matrix composites, ceramic matrix composites.          

6.      Strength and Failure of Composites. Determination of stiffness properties of unidirectional fibre-reinforced composite material; Failure of unidirectional fibre-reinforced composite material under different types of loading; Damage mechanisms, damage accumulation; Prediction of strength.

Materials Selection in Design: Students will undertake a materials selection exercise using the CES EduPack materials selection software.

Further Information & Notes

Available only to students following an Honours degree programme.

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

More Information about Week Numbers

Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 31 August 2023 for 1st half-session courses and 22 December 2023 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

1st Attempt: 1 three-hour written examination paper (90%), and in-course assessment (10%). Resit: 1 three-hour written examination (90%), and continuous assessment mark from the 1st attempt (10%)

Formative Assessment

The continuous assessment will be based on the keeping of a lab logbook and this serves as both formative and summative assessment.


a) Students can receive feedback on their progress with the Course on request at the tutorial or practicals sessions. b) Students will receive feedback on their performance at the practicals through the marked logbooks which will be returned to the students. c) Students requesting feedback on their exam performance should make an appointment with the Course Co-ordinator within 4 weeks of the publication of the exam results.

We also provide whole-class feedback via MyAberdeen.  We also put model answers/mark schemes for the mock exams on MyAberdeen to give students the chance to self-assess their own performance.

Course Learning Outcomes


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