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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

CAPE3700 Structural Materials

20 creditsClass Size: 30

Module manager: Dr RF Cochrane

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

This module is not approved as a discovery module


The objectives of this module are to:
- apply a quantitative treatment to the mechanical properties of materials, and their origin;
- provide the scientific basis for the relationship between materials properties and their microstructure;
- give students the necessary background to understand the design of suitable microstructures to give desired properties across the full range of materials classes;
- apply a knowledge gained of the processing-microstructure-property relationship to the design of alloys, ceramics, polymers and composites for structural applications;
- illustrate the state-of-the-art in these materials and show how research has, and continues, to inform the design of these materials.

Learning outcomes
At the end of this module, students should:
- understand the origins of elastic behaviour of solids and its relationship to structure;
- understand the principles of non-linear elasticity;
- understand the origin and application of linear elastic fracture mechanics to brittle fracture and fatigue crack growth;
- understand the macroscopic aspects of the deformation and failure of materials by fatigue and creep and perform simple calculations to predict the lifetime of a component subjected to fatigue or creep using data obtained from standard tests;
- understand the micromechanics of deformation and fracture in monolithic and composite materials, their relationship to structure, and the principles of microstructural engineering to control mechanical behaviour;
- understand the principles of physical metallurgy and their application in the historical development of metals and alloys to satisfy the needs of different industrial sectors;
- understand the process-microstructure-properties relationship in the design of ceramics, polymers and composite materials with an appropriate combination of properties to satisfy the needs of different industrial sectors;
- understand the traditional limitations on properties and how metallurgists and materials scientists may seek to circumvent these in the design of novel materials with an improved range of properties;
- be aware of current research developments in metallurgy and materials science in this sector and its potential impact on design and technology.


Mechanical Behaviour
Stress-strain relationships in linear elastic and non-linear elastic solids; plastic deformation of metals; strengthening mechanisms; plastic deformation of polymers; fracture: fracture of brittle materials; brittle-ductile transition; fracture of semi-brittle materials-crack-tip plasticity; micromechanisms of plastic deformation and fracture; fatigue: characteristics of fatigue crack nucleation and growth; the Paris Law and lifetime predictions; creep: characteristics of the creep curve, creep mechanisms; rupture life predictions.

Engineering Ceramics
Structural ceramics: general considerations; oxide ceramics; nitrides, carbides and silicides.

Ferrous metals: carbon and alloy steels.
Non-ferrous metals: titanium, nickel, copper and aluminium alloys.

Composites: elastic behaviour; strength; toughening.

Polymers: structural overview; structural transitions: factors affecting the glass transition temperature in amorphous polymers; crystalline polymers; liquid crystal polymers.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Independent online learning hours51.00
Private study hours115.00
Total Contact hours34.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Independent on-line blended learning which consolidates and extends the lecture material and allows students to assess their progress via integrated formative quizzes
Note-taking and revision of lecture material and supportive reading (60 hours)
Completion of assignments (30 hours)
Revision for summative class tests (25 hours)

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Performance in formative tutorial classes and in formative quizzes integrated into on-line learning resources.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
In-course AssessmentOnline class test20.00
AssignmentMini-project report30.00
AssignmentProblem sheet10.00
In-course AssessmentOnline class test40.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

It is not feasible to repeat practical classes in August so students who need to re-sit will be provided with an alternative mini-project which tests the same learning outcomes.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 12/07/2022


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