BSc Materials Science and Engineering

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Engineering Alloys in Service

Course unit fact file
Unit code MATS24102
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 5
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Department of Materials
Available as a free choice unit? No


Case studies in the transport and power industry; e.g. weight reduction strategies in future automotive designs, performance vs. cost; economics of corrosion prevention in nuclear power generation.


The unit aims to:  

  • Demonstrate the ways that the metallurgical principles can be used to engineer the microstructure of metallic alloys in order to control their mechanical performance and degradation in service; through the use of case studies.  
  • Introduce the industrial application of materials engineering by using examples to illustrate the requirement to balance performance against cost, environmental impact and component lifetime, in commercial products.


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, Pod casts, web-based self-evaluation and supporting information (Blackboard), peer-assisted study sessions (PASS).



Knowledge and understanding

  • Ability to relate the economic and environmental context for materials engineering in product development. 
  • Basic knowledge to apply the physical principles (e.g. thermodynamics, kinetics, mechanical behaviour) of the discipline to engineer microstructures for optimisation of performance.  
  • Identify the principles of microstructure control in casting and thermomechanical processing.  
  • Outline skills to employ the basic principles involved in design for high temperature including creep and oxidation resistance.  
  • Ability to apply basic thermodynamics and kinetics to evaluate corrosion and oxidation.  
  • Relate the scientific and engineering related knowledge on the application of surface engineering to improve materials performance, in service-life,  and the control of corrosion. 


Intellectual skills

  • Show improved logical reasoning, problem solving and ability in applied mathematics.  
  • Ability to identify the effect of changing the chemistry and microstructure/architecture of a material on its properties and performance in service.

Practical skills

  • Ability to apply the laboratory skills that require for corrosion testing and related experiments.  

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Skills to convert word problems into equations and numerical answers.  
  • Recognize the metallurgical related concepts to determine best technical options.  

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 70%
Written assignment (inc essay) 30%

Feedback methods

Verbal and written

Recommended reading

  • “Phase transformations in Metals and Alloys”, D.A. Porter, K.E. Easterling, M. Sherif, Pub. Chapman and Hall, 2009.  
  • Materials Science and Engineering - An Introduction, W. D. Callister, D. G. Rethwisch, Pub. Wiley, 2010.  
  • Shreir's corrosion, R. A. Cottis, M. Graham, R. Lindsay, L. S.B., J. A. Richardson, D. Scantlebury and H. Stott, eds., Elsevier, Amsterdam, 2009.
  • Corrosion Engineering, Mars G. Fontana, Tata McGraw-Hill, 2005.


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 20
Independent study hours
Independent study 80

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Wajira Mirihanage Unit coordinator

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