BSc Materials Science and Engineering

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Materials Processing

Course unit fact file
Unit code MATS23401
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 5
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Department of Materials
Available as a free choice unit? No


The unit provides comprehensive coverage of the main technologies for the production of artifacts from metals, ceramics, and polymers, and of the theory which underlies materials processing operations. 


The unit aims to allow students to: 

  • select the common processing technologies for polymeric, metallic, ceramic and ceramic composite materials;
  • describe the underpinning physical principles of processing including; heat transfer, fluid flow and kinetic theory;
  • be able to give examples of how processing can affect the structure, and hence properties, of materials;


Learning outcomes

A greater depth of the learning outcomes will be covered in the following sections:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Intellectual skills
  • Practical skills
  • Transferable skills and personal qualities

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures, group tutorials (problem sessions), recommended textbooks, web resources, past exam papers, electronic supporting information (Blackboard).



Knowledge and understanding

  • Describe the range and application of generic material shaping processes (processing of polymers, metals, ceramics). 
  • Explain the principles and theory of fluid flow, heat transfer and rheology underlying the processing of materials. 
  • Solve basic fluid flow, heat transfer and rheological problems in materials processing theoretically. 
  • Describe the processing mechanism of single screw polymer extrusion.
  • Explain the process of cooling in injection moulding. 
  • Explain the  operating prinicples in casting and thermomechanical processing of metals. 
  • Explain the principles and mechanisms of ceramic processing from powder and chemical routes.
  • To be able to identify the appropraite thchnologies for the production of given artefacts.

Intellectual skills

  • Show improved logical reasoning, problem solving and ability in applied mathematics.
  • Apply simple models to the flow of heat during processing or in application. 

Practical skills

  • Use appropriate software packages to solve basic fluid flow, heat transfer and rheological problems.
  • Develop awareness of practical aspects associated with operating equipment and performing experiments/tests.
  • Be able to analyse the data obtained from materials processing experiments/tests. 
  • Understand principles of experimental techniques with virtual learning (e.g. microscope).

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Solve subject related problems utilising appropriate methods.
  • Analyse the related results critically.
  • Explain the results reliably and effectively.
  • Work effectively in a group to solve problems.
  • Compose simple technical/scientific reports on laboratory tests.
  • Data anlysis with software pakages such as ABAQUS
  • Presentation of data/results.
  • Ability to work in a team (group work).

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 70%
Written assignment (inc essay) 15%
Report 15%

Feedback methods

Written and verbal

Recommended reading

  • “Materials Science and Engineering - An Introduction”, W. D. Callister, D. G. Rethwisch, Pub. Wiley, 2010.
  • “Physics of Plastics” AW Birley, B Haworth, J Batchelor, Hanser, 1991.
  • “Plastics Engineering” RJ Crawford, 3rd Ed., B-H, 1998.
  • “Principles of Ceramic Processing”, S. Reed, Wiley Interscience, 1995.
  • “Materials Science of Thin Films", M. Ohring, 2002 – available as an e-book form University library.
  • ‘’Polymer Extrusion’’, C. Rauwendaal, Hanser, 2001.
  • ‘’Polymer Processing and Structure development’’, A. N. Wilkinson and A. J. Ryan, Kluwer, 1999.
  • ‘’Polymer Extrusion: A Study on Thermal Monitoring Techniques and Melting Issues’’, C. Abeykoon, Lap Lambert, 2012.


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 22
Independent study hours
Independent study 78

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Chamil Abeykoon Unit coordinator

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