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2023/24 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

MECH1280 Engineering Materials

20 creditsClass Size: 350

Module manager: Dr Anthony Herbert

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

Year running 2023/24

Module replaces

MECH 1430 and MECH 2410

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

A basic level materials module that places a large emphasis on dealing with structure property relationships.


Attain knowledge and a good understanding of engineering principles relating to structure, property relationships and how these can be controlled by various manufacturing methods including heat treatment. Students should be able to distinguish between microstructure, crystal structure and other material aspects determined by intrinsic bonding.

Learning outcomes
By the end of the course students should be able to:
1. Identify the five material selection parameters, along with the important associated materials properties, when considering the use of a material for an engineering purpose.
2. Identify and differentiate the key differences between atomic bonding and materials properties of common engineering materials. In addition to this you will be able to describe the fundamental differences between metals, ceramics and polymers.
3. Identify the relationships between stress, strain and moduli and how these vary for typical engineering materials.
4. Identify key mechanical, non-mechanical and surface properties of engineering materials and the common test methodologies to assess these.
5. Identify and explain the roles of monomer chemistry and polymerisation on the mechanical properties of polymers. This includes and understanding of visco-elasticity.
6. Identify and explain the phase transformation and non-equilibrium processes of metallic materials and how this influences the mechanical and surface properties of metals.
7. Identify the common processing methodologies for metals, polymer and ceramics.
8. Be able to effectively identify and choose materials based on the engineering needs or performance criteria for a number of applications.

Upon successful completion of this module the following UK-SPEC learning outcome descriptors are satisfied:

A comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the scientific principles and methodology necessary to underpin their education in their engineering discipline, and an understanding and know-how of the scientific principles of related disciplines, to enable appreciation of the scientific and engineering context, and to support their understanding of relevant historical, current and future developments and technologies (SM1m)
Knowledge and understanding of mathematical and statistical methods necessary to underpin their education in their engineering discipline and to enable them to apply a range of mathematical and statistical methods, tools and notations proficiently and critically in the analysis and solution of engineering problems (SM2m)
Ability to identify, classify and describe the performance of systems and components through the use of analytical methods and modelling techniques (EA2)
Knowledge of characteristics of particular equipment, processes or products, with extensive knowledge and understanding of a wide range of engineering materials and components (P2m)
Ability to apply relevant practical and laboratory skills (P3)
Apply their skills in problem solving, communication, information retrieval, working with others and the effective use of general IT facilities (G1).

Skills outcomes
- Confident understanding of the internal workings of materials.
- Appreciation of stress-strain relationships and how these depend upon the intrinsic atomic packing crystal and micro-structures of materials.


- Classification of engineering materials, bulk properties (elastic and plastic behaviour), mechanisms of deformation, hardness, toughness and brittleness
- Metallurgy of alloying
- Crystal structure and microstructure
- Steels and their phase transformations
- Ceramics, composites and polymers
- Fracture mechanics
- Fatigue and creep deformation.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Class tests, exams and assessment12.002.00
Class tests, exams and assessment21.002.00
Independent online learning hours32.00
Private study hours112.00
Total Contact hours56.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

- Revision of lecture notes and tutorial materials
- Revision of lecture content from personal notes and lecture guide notes
- Reading recommended sections of supporting text book sections and other published materials
- Revision of marked class tests.

Students will spend an average of:
- 1 hour preparation per lecture
- 2 hours preparing for each tutorial and example class
- 2 hours preparing for practicals and labs.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

TopHat quiz after delivery of major section (relatable to 1 whole exam question).
Minerva based discussion board that will be monitored/responded to for 1 hour per week. 

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
In-course Assessment1 MCQ test and 1 written class test20.00
ReportLab report.10.00
ReportLab report10.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)40.00

Coursework marks carried forward and 60% resit exam OR 100% resit exam

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Unseen exam 2 hr 60.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)60.00

Non - programmable calculators only

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 15/09/2023


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