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Unit information: Smart Materials in 2019/20

Please note: Due to alternative arrangements for teaching and assessment in place from 18 March 2020 to mitigate against the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, information shown for 2019/20 may not always be accurate.

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 Smart Materials
Unit code AENGM0010
Credit points 10
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Dicker
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Aerospace Engineering
Faculty Faculty of Engineering


This is an introductory unit that takes students through the basic understanding of a range of smart materials, their capabilities, and how they can be applied to solve engineering problems. The preparation of an individual, short duration, research project proposal on the topic of smart materials is used to encourage:

  • extended reading around a broad and diverse subject;
  • development of own ideas;
  • communication and writing skills;
  • consideration of how a research idea can be deconstructed into tasks/activities.

The aims of the unit are to enable students to:

  • appreciate and understand the concept of smart materials
  • describe the scientific principles behind and review the capabilities of, current smart materials
  • develop a critical understanding of their practical engineering application
  • develop and refine the skills to devise, prepare and communicate a short research proposal based on the development and application of smart materials.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Be familiar with and understand the scientific principles and behaviour of several current 'smart' material systems
  2. Be able to formulate and apply a 'smart' materials approach to solving an engineering need
  3. Research, prepare and communicate (both written and orally) a project proposal based on the development of a 'smart' approach to an engineering problem.

Teaching details

Lectures and seminars.

Assessment Details

Formative assessment:

a) one-to-one feedback on research project proposal before submission (ILOs 1-3)

b) Four pages research project proposal (ILOs 1-3)

c) Presentation with Q&A to assessment panel on a research project proposal (ILOs 1-3)

Summative assessments:

  1. Preparation of a short ‘research project proposal’ (max. 4 x A4 pages) based on a ‘smart’ material concept [60%]. Focus will be a single person, feasibility study for 6 months duration, with a nominal budget of £3k.
  2. Presentation of ‘research project proposal’ based on a ‘smart’ material concept [40%] to an assessment panel, including a short question and answer session. 10 min. presentation and a 5 min. Q&A.

Both of these assessments will assess ILOs 1-3.

Reading and References

  • Smart Technologies – K Worden, W A Bullough, J Hauwood – World Scientific Publishing Co. Pre. Ltd, 2003 ISBN981-02-4776-1
  • Smart Materials – M Schwartz – CRC Press, 2009 ISBN 978-1-4200-4372-3