Skip to main content

Unit information: Materials 1 in 2016/17

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Materials 1
Unit code MENG11100
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Peel
Open unit status Not open

A-level standard in Maths and Physics or equivalent



School/department Department of Mechanical Engineering
Faculty Faculty of Engineering


This course is split into two main sections: properties of materials and mechanics of materials.

Properties of materials is concerned with the fundamentals of material behaviour with an emphasis on how they behave under loading and the origin of this behaviour. There are four main themes: 1) the definitions of common mechanical properties; 2) the selection of suitable materials using property databases; 3) the structure and deformation of crystalline materials; 4) the properties and structure of polymers and hybrid/composite materials. The aims of this section are:

  1. Provide specific meanings of material properties important to engineers and how these link to key concepts in the structure materials
  2. Introduce the basic concepts behind rational material selection
  3. Explain common strengthening mechanisms with their advantages and disadvantages

Mechanics of materials is concerned with the mathematical description of stress and strain and how these concepts can be used to solve common engineering problems. The aims of this section are:

  1. To acquire an absolute minimum of solid mechanics knowledge required to study more advanced concepts in years 2 and above
  2. Introduce key concepts including stress and strain tensors, stress equilibrium, solutions of simple 1D and 2D stress problems, principal values and directions, tensor rotations.
  3. Explain how to use these concepts to solve common linear elastic problems such as statically indeterminate systems, slender beam bending theory, and buckling

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of the course students should be able to:

  1. Provide specific definitions of material properties and be proficient in deriving them from tensile test data.
  2. Derive and use material indices for material selection in simple scenarios.
  3. Tackle open-ended material selection tasks for common engineering scenarios.
  4. Understand the key principles of material structure for several classes of material and how this translates to typical properties.
  5. Calculate principal values and orientation of stress and strain tensors
  6. Express the components of symmetric rank 2 tensors on elementary cubes of material
  7. Explain the difference between load and stress, displacement and strain
  8. Calculate stresses, strains and displacements for isotropic linear elasticity in pure bending, tension, compression and torsion.
  9. Use precise, accurate written language.

Teaching details

Properties of Materials:

  • Students receive 1 lecture per week for new material, problem solving, tutorial solutions and support for the material selection exercise. Extensive written handouts are provided to support the lectures. The lectures will be additionally supported by a series of example sheets to improve student understanding.
  • Properties laboratory: includes hands-on mechanical testing in small groups and calculation of properties.
  • Materials selection coursework: Group work to determine the best material for one of several designated mechanical problems (prosthetic leg, crane strut, etc) x. These problems are deliberately open-ended, and intended to require discussion and background reading. Handouts are provided to clearly communicate the aims, methodology and marking criteria.

Mechanics of Materials:

  • Lectures and example classes, typically 1 hour of lectures followed 1 hour example class.
  • All materials available on-line. All notes written by the lecturer during the lectures are scanned and provided via the course page.

Mechanics laboratory: Small group hands on testing of common structures.

Assessment Details

Exam paper (70%) (learning outcomes 1,4,5,6,7,8)

Mid-sessional exam in January (20%) (learning outcomes 1,2,5,6,7,8)

Properties laboratory (5%) (learning outcome 1).

Mechanics laboratory (5%) (learning outcomes 8,9)

Interactive blackboard sessions before and after the lab are mandatory if marks are to be awarded.

Reading and References

Properties of Materials:

  1. Materials Science and Engineering: An Introduction; Callister WD (and Rethwisch DG in later editions), Wiley
  2. Engineering Materials 1; Ashby MF, Butterworth-Heinemann
  3. Engineering Materials 2; Ashby MF, Butterworth-Heinemann
  4. Materials Selection in Mechanical Design; Ashby MF, Elsevier

Mechanics of Materials:

  1. S. H. Crandall, A N. C. Dahl, A T. J. Lardner, An Introduction to the Mechanics of Solids, 1978, McGraw-Hill, 2 Ed. with SI units
  2. J. N. Reddy, An Introduction to Continuum Mechanics, 2013, Cambridge, 2 Ed.
  3. J. M. Gere, S. P. Timoshenko, Mechanics of Materials, 1997, PWS Publishing Company, 4 Ed.
  4. E. F. Byars, R. D. Snyder, Engineering Mechanics of Deformable Bodies, 1963, International Textbook Company
  5. Y. C. Fung, A First Course in Continuum Mechanics, 1969, Prentice-Hall
  6. E. B. Tadmor, R. E. Miller, R. S. Elliot, Continuum Mechanics and Thermodynamics, 2012, Cambridge

F. P. Beer, E. R. Johnston, Jr., J. T. Dewolf, D. F. Mazurek, Mechanics of Materials, 2009, McGraw-Hill, 5 Ed.