2019 Introduction to solid materials

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Academic unit or major
Undergraduate major in Materials Science and Engineering
Chai Yaw Wang 
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Course description and aims

This course is primarily aimed for students with less materials science background. Students will explore the historical perspective of solid materials, classification of materials (i.e. metals, ceramics, polymers and composites), advanced materials, and the modern materials’ designs based on economic, environmental, and societal issues. Introduction to the concepts of atomic structure and interatomic bonding, crystal structure and crystallography, crystalline and non-crystalline materials. Microstructure and defects in solid materials and their observation techniques. Mechanical properties, dislocations and plastic deformation, strengthening mechanisms, and failure in solid materials. Students will learn the importance of understanding the processing- structure- properties- performance principles in materials.

Student learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
(a) Apply core concepts in Materials Science to solve engineering problems.
(b) Understand the interrelationship among the processing-structure-properties-performance in designing solid materials for practical applications.
(c) Classification of solid materials on the basis of chemistry, atomic structure and bonding.
(d) Predict the properties of a solid material based on atomic level structure and bonding, microstructure and crystallography information.
(e) Aware of the various issues in designing or selecting materials for practical applications such as economy, social, safety and environment.


Solid materials, atomic structure and bonding, microstructure, properties, processing, safety and environmental issues.

Competencies that will be developed

Intercultural skills Communication skills Specialist skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills
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Class flow

Each lecture may include quiz for better understanding.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 Introduction Understand the interrelationship of four principles in materials science, namely processing – structure – properties – performance.
Class 2 Atomic structure and interatomic bonding Understand the formation of different types of bonds between atoms/molecules, and the properties infer from each type of bonding in materials.
Class 3 Structure of crystalline solids Learn the differences in atomic arrangement between crystalline and noncrystalline solids, the relationship between atomic structure and density, and the dependent of material properties with respect to crystal orientation.
Class 4 Imperfection in solids Understand the formation of various types of point, line and planar defects during solidification in solids.
Class 5 Mechanical properties of metals Understand the concepts of stress, strain, ductility, toughness and hardness in solid materials, and the behaviors of elastic and plastic deformations.
Class 6 Dislocations and Strengthening Mechanisms Understand the role of dislocations in plastic deformation process and strengthening mechanisms of solid materials.
Class 7 Failure Understand the role of crack in various failure mechanisms in solid materials.
Class 8 Economic, Environment, and Societal Issues in Materials Science and Engineering Understand factors affect product cost, as well as the environmental and societal consequences during materials selection and design.


William D. Callister, Jr. and David G. Rethwisch, "Materials Science and Engineering-An Introduction" (Wiley, 2014, 9th edition)

Reference books, course materials, etc.


Assessment criteria and methods

Students are assessed by quizzes at each lecture and the final examination.

Related courses

  • MAT.M419 : Microscopic characterization of solid materials

Prerequisites (i.e., required knowledge, skills, courses, etc.)


Contact information (e-mail and phone)    Notice : Please replace from "[at]" to "@"(half-width character).

Suzukakedai, J2 building, 14th floor, Room 1413 (ext.: 5578)

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