Fundamentals of materials science and engineering: an interactive e.text
It is therefore important when teaching engineering students that they are taught the underpinning science, whilst also being given the opportunity to gain a feel for materials through practical sessions, perhaps by mechanically testing materials to determine properties. What does the mechanical or design engineer or technologist need to actually know about materials? The following list gives a possible overview of what could be included in a first year curriculum:. In the first year the engineering student needs to be taught the underlying fundamental principles of materials.
They also need to find out about all the different types of materials available, with some idea of how to select them for certain applications. This means quite a full syllabus if it is to be done correctly. However, some academics are under pressure to reduce teaching hours and hence have reduced contact time with students.
In some cases the amount of taught material has to therefore be reduced. If this is the case we need to consider what the minimum requirements are in terms of topics to be taught. So what topics do we really need to have in the curriculum? Do we need for example all of the following?
Is it really necessary for the Periodic Table to be dealt with in detail, or would an overview suffice? Some think that topics such as atomic bonding and diffusion within crystals should not be taught to an engineer, as they don't need to know this to select a material for an application. However, it could be argued that an understanding of these topics is fundamental to understanding 'why' we choose a certain material or 'why' we choose a certain process to treat or fabricate a material.
A knowledge of structure and bonding also leads to a better understanding of the properties of materials and how and why they can be changed by processing. Let us look at one approach to topics taught in a first year class for engineers over one semester:. This lecture programme would also be supported by appropriate laboratories and tutorials. Other topics that are in the first year curriculum diagram, Figure 1, could replace some of the above topics, or could be taught through student case studies and assignments associated with the module.
Later three examples of case studies are given that could be utilised. For some topics you may decide to put them into a second year or final year module. Students need to have the fundamentals of materials in place very early on.
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Having decided on the main topics that you wish to cover, one potential problem is that the students aren't really interested in materials as it is not a core topic for their award. So, how do we ensure that our engineering students generate an intrinsic interest and motivation in studying materials? There are several points that we need to consider to address this. We need to:.
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The Review Case Study Assignment requires students to gather technical information with regard to materials for a specific product and gain in-depth knowledge about a particular set of materials or products, going much further than could be accomplished in a classroom situation. This assignment combines both individual and group work. Students arrange themselves into small groups. The first task is to select a project from the list. Students must then allocate individual and group tasks for information gathering within the group.
Students may submit individual reports and the group could do a presentation that integrates the individual's contributions. Award winning software for teachers and students of materials science, engineering and related subjects. The challenging concepts of this subject area, which can be difficult to grasp, are made easier to understand with this collection of completely interactive learning modules, which have been designed to make use of those functions best performed by computer.
Designed to complement traditional teaching and learning methods, it also serves as a stimulating resource for teachers explaining new concepts. Students learn new aspects of materials science whilst testing their knowledge by answering the questions which appear within each module on the CD-ROM. Cambridge Engineering Selector is an excellent tool for materials selection and can be used at all levels.
The Reverse Engineering Case Study involves students taking apart a familiar product and determining the materials used for each separate component. An example could be a Belt Electric Sander.
Students can undertake various tests to determine the materials that it is made from. In their reports the students can critically appraise the choice of materials selected and suggest alternatives. The students could analyse the design and possible methods of manufacture of each component. This activity illustrates to the student the integrative role that materials plays in engineering design and manufacture.
The 'belt sander' consists of a number of materials and components produced by a range of manufacturing processes.
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Investigate and identify the materials used in the belt sander. Explain how you determined what you think the materials are. Another Case Study exercise, Product Development, could be used with final year and Masters engineering students:. The Product Development Case Study requires students to be involved with an innovative design that gives them the opportunity to apply their materials expertise in the concept design of a new or improved product.
Working in multi-disciplinary teams means that an engineer will learn about materials by acting as a materials engineer, or by working with a materials student and learning from them during the process.
Fundamentals of Materials Science and Engineering - An Interactive eText (Paperback, 5th)
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