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2023/24 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

CAPE5730M Materials Selection and Failure Analysis

15 creditsClass Size: 60

Module manager: Dr GM Kale

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

This module is not approved as an Elective


The objectives of this module are to:
- provide students with a secure grounding in quantitative methodologies for materials and process selection and the opportunity to put these into practice in a selection and specification project;
- provide students with the knowledge and confidence to tackle a forensic engineering investigation and the opportunity to carry out such an investigation on a limited scale and against strict time constraints.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, candidates should be able to:
- understand critically the interplay between developments in materials and engineering design;
- understand the methodology of materials and process selection in engineering design;
- understand the issues underlying the specification and sourcing of materials in design and production engineering;
- quantitatively select appropriate materials for a technical system consisting of a number of components, from specification through materials and process selection to specification and sourcing;
- deal with sources of materials property data, and realise when these are inadequate and property measurements are required;
- specify necessary in-service monitoring and carry out lifetime predictions;
- assess likely causes of component failure from a knowledge of service conditions;
- select and apply a wide range of microscopic and analytical techniques in the forensic investigation of metallurgical or materials failure;
- recommend appropriate remedial measures to prevent recurrence of a given failure.

Skills outcomes
Candidates will have had the opportunity to develop the following skills through this module: engineering reasoning and problem solving; lifetime estimation; materials and process selection; specification and sourcing; forensic engineering.


- In service failure modes;
- Methodologies of materials and process selection in structural and functional design: qualitative and quantitative;
- Materials specification and sourcing: alloy designations and materials equivalences;
- Databases and materials information sources;
- Maintenance, monitoring and lifetime predictions;
- Approach to failure analysis;
- Tools of failure analysis;
- Fractography;
- Metallurgical failure analysis: mechanical failure, environmental effects; characteristics of fracture;
- Weld failure;
- Failure of polymers, ceramics and composites: special features of mechanical failure and environment;
- Failure prevention: design codes and inspection procedures;
- Failure in electronic components and devices;
- Case studies relevant to the individual programme of study.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Computer Class42.008.00
Independent online learning hours36.00
Private study hours84.00
Total Contact hours30.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

Students will study nine units in Minerva covering the major parts of the materials and process selection methodology and the principles of carrying out a failure investigation. Each unit covers the underlying theory and practice, sets this in context with specific case studies and includes a formative, self-assessment test.
Private study: independent reading to support assignments; use of materials databases and selection software; preparation of group presentation and two individual reports.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Performance in formative quizzes integrated into on-line learning resources. Assessment of assignments.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
ReportSelection project40.00
ReportFailure investigation40.00
PresentationGroup liability assignment20.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 28/04/2023 14:55:30


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