MEng Materials Science and Engineering with Textiles Technology / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Superalloys & High Performance Materials

Course unit fact file
Unit code MATS43202
Credit rating 15
Unit level Level 7
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Department of Materials
Available as a free choice unit? No


In many cases, technological progress is limited by materials ability to withstand extremely harsh conditions determined by a combination of temperature, pressure and chemical potential of the environment. Key materials properties governing their performance in a particular application depend upon both the nature of the material and its microstructure achieved by available manufacturing methods. For highly demanding applications, the choice of materials is often reduced to less abundant and difficult to shape materials systems, which presents major challenge in manufacturing and dramatically affects the cost of the final product.



The unit aims to provide a systematic understanding of fundamental materials science, engineering and performance aspects of high-performance non-ferrous metallic, non-metallic materials systems and coatings related to high-temperature/demanding-environment applications. The main topics to be considered within the unit include:

  1. Metallurgy, processing and performance of high-performance non-ferrous alloys:
    1. Ti alloys and titanium aluminides for aerospace applications;
    2. Zr alloys for nuclear applications;
    3. Ni base superalloys for high temperature applications;
  2. Materials science, processing and performance of monolithic ceramics and ceramic matrix composites (CMCs), for very high temperature applications;
  3. Design, engineering and performance of coatings for high temperature and abrasive environment applications.


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

The unit will be delivered via a combination of synchronous and asynchronous activities. Pre-recorded and live lectures will be used to introduce fundamental concepts of superalloys and high performance materials systems, illustrated by practical examples of their applications. Three tutorial sessions will be used to develop practical skills in the analysis of structure-property relationships superalloys and high-performance materials as well as to facilitate the work on the case study into application and performance aspects of associated materials systems. The small group tutorial sessions will be supported by graduate teaching assistants. Additionally, on-line quizzes will be used to facilitate comprehension of individual concepts considered in the lectures and provide help in preparation for tutorial sessions. Additional electronic learning resources and useful web links will be provided in Blackboard.



Knowledge and understanding

  • Appraise the main industrial, technological and economic drivers for application of difficult-to-shape high-performance metallic, non-metallic materials and coatings.
  • Classify high-performance HCP metallic, superalloy and non-metallic materials systems based on their composition, properties and applications; identify the main degradation and failure modes for these materials systems in service.
  • Describe the main orientation relationships, deformation and strengthening mechanisms involved in high-performance HCP, Ni base metallic materials.
  • Understand the influence of different processing routes on the microstructure and corresponding effects on mechanical properties and in-service performance of Ti- and Zr-alloys alloys, TiAl, nickel-base superalloys, monolithic ceramics, ceramic matrix composites and coatings.
  • Identify appropriate coating systems and corresponding manufacturing routes for different substrate materials and applications. 

Intellectual skills

  • Critically assess the range of technologies available for advanced processing of semi-finished products from the difficult-to-shape materials, outlining the advantages and limitations of each process influencing its application.
  • Explain the general metallurgical principles that underpin the main deformation and strengthening mechanisms in high-performance non-ferrous metallic and ceramic materials, their links to the microstructural evolution during thermo-mechanical processing and implications for resulting mechanical properties.
  • Outline the principles exploited in advanced processing to overcome the challenges the current industrial superalloys and high-performance materials present, design microstructures and develop improved properties.


Practical skills

  • Ascertain the influence of thermo-mechanical processing routes on microstructure, mechanical properties and in-service performance of superalloys and high-performance materials systems.
  • Apply general metallurgical and materials engineering principles to the technologies involved in processing of superalloys and high-performance materials to optimise the process and improve component performance.


Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Develop analytical skills when working with scientific and technical literature on advanced materials systems.
  • Write concise, relevant and competent reports in an appropriate format on various aspects of science, engineering and applications of advanced materials systems.
  • Work systematically and effectively, both individually and in a group, to solve problems related to processing and application aspects of superalloys and high-performance materials.

Assessment methods

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

Feedback methods

Feedback given (Written and verbal)

Recommended reading

  • “Modern Physical Metallurgy”, R. E. Smallman, A. H. W. Ngan, 8th Ed Elsevier, 2014
  • “Phase transformations in Metals and Alloys”, D.A. Porter, K.E. Easterling, M. Sherif, Pub. Chapman and Hall, 2009.
  • “Mechanical Metallurgy”, G.E. Dieter, McGraw-Hill,
  • “Titanium and Titanium Alloys. Fundamentals and Applications”, Ed C. Leyens, Manfred Peters, Wiley, 2003
  • “Zirconium Alloys in Nuclear Applications”, C. Lemaignan, A.T. Motta, Wiley 2006
  • “The Superalloys Fundamentals and Applications” Roger C. Reed, Cambridge University Press, 2006
  • “Ceramic Materials Science and Engineering” C.B. Carter, M.G. Norton, Springer, 2009
  • “Coatings Tribology: Properties, Mechanisms, Techniques and Applications in Surface Engineering”, K. Holmberg, A. Matthews, Elsevier, 2009


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 30
Practical classes & workshops 3
Tutorials 3
Independent study hours
Independent study 114

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Aleksey Yerokhin Unit coordinator

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