MEng Materials Science and Engineering with Textiles Technology / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Modelling and Data Tools for Materials Scientists

Course unit fact file
Unit code MATS31101
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 6
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Department of Materials
Available as a free choice unit? No


This unit introduces key techniques for the manipulation and processing of data from experiments and simulations and a range of approaches to simulating the properties and behaviour of materials. It presents the theory underlying these techniques, explains when and how they can be used and provides an opportunity for hands-on experience in using them. The unit will be delivered via computer laboratory workshops using the software Python.


This unit aims to:

  1. Introduce a range of data processing and analysis tools relevant to materials scientists and develop an understanding of how they work and a practical ability to use them through hands-on exercises
  2. Explain the concept of materials simulation, the different techniques available, the theory underlying those techniques and the types of problems they can be used to solve
  3. Provide hands-on experience of using modelling techniques to explore the behaviour 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

This unit will be primarily delivered via enquiry-based learning in a computer laboratory. Hands-on learning will be reinforced by assessed computational course work. Supplementary lectures will be given to explain important theoretical concepts prior to the computer workshops. Recommended textbooks, web resources and electronic supporting information (on Blackboard) will also be provided.


Intellectual skills

Upon completing this unit, you should be able to:

a)      Fit datasets with appropriate mathematical functions and quantitatively assess the quality of the fits.

b)      Characterise data using statistics and construct robust statements to communicate statistical findings

c)      Use simulation techniques to predict the response of materials under given physical conditions

d)      Draw clear conclusions from the outcome of simulations, appropriate to the degree of approximation inherent in the model and the simulation design

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Upon completing this unit, you should be able to:

a)     Translate real-world, physical problems into a form that can be solved with a computer

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written assignment (inc essay) 100%

Feedback methods

Written and verbal

Recommended reading

There is no compulsory reading material for the course. You may find the following textbook useful:

Scopatz and Huff, 2015. Effective Computation in Physics. O’Reilly Media.


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 20
Independent study hours
Independent study 80

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Tom Shearer Unit coordinator

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