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2010/1 Module Catalogue
Module Provider: Mechanical, Medical & Aero Engineering Short Name: SE3M12
Level: M Module Co-ordinator: WHITING MJ Dr (M, M & A Eng)
Number of credits: 15 Number of ECTS credits: 7.5
Module Availability
Short course
Assessment Pattern

Components of Assessment



Continuous assessment

Extended assessment package


Module Overview
The module provides a systematic overview of the major principles of physical metallurgy. Students successfully completing the module will have a critical awareness of how these principles relate to current issues in exploiting structural alloys in engineering applications.


Module Aims
This module aims to explore:
•           The centrality of the concepts of thermodynamics and kinetics in physical metallurgy and phase transformations.
•           Binary equilibrium phase diagrams as a tool in understanding the thermodynamics of alloy systems.
•           The use of transformation (isothermal and continuous cooling) diagrams as a tool in following (i) the kinetics of phase transformations and (ii) the development of alloy microstructure.
•           The role of diffusion in the kinetics of phase transformations.
•           The principles of thermodynamics and kinetics, and their application, to a representative selection of real alloy systems.
•           The nature of defects in metallic systems and their role in determining engineering properties.

•           The concept of microstructure and its relationship to processing and properties of alloys.

Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of the module, students should be able to
•           Show a systematic understanding of the role that thermodynamics and kinetics play in phase transformations.
•           Evaluate critically the relevance of phase diagrams, isothermal transformation diagrams and continuous cooling transformation diagrams to understanding real alloys and their microstructure.
•           Display a critical awareness of the relevance of key areas, e.g. diffusion, defects, transformation type, to current problems in designing, processing and exploiting real alloys.

•           Show a systematic understanding of the complex interplay between microstructure, processing and engineering properties in metallic materials.

Module Content
The thermodynamic basis of phase diagrams.
Binary equilbrium phase diagrams and their use in predicting alloy constitution and microstructure.
Isothermal and continuous cooling transformation diagrams and their use in predicting microstructure.
Characterisation of microstructures.
Solid-state diffusion.
The liquid to solid transformation.
Precipitation in the solid state.
The classification of phase transformations as diffusional and displacive.
The pearlitic, bainitic and martensitic transformations.
A case study of a non-ferrous metal and its alloys.
A case study of a family of steels.
Microstructure, processing and property relationships (with an emphasis on ambient temperature strengthening mechanisms).
Point, line and planar lattice defects. Micro and macro defects.
Cold work, recovery, recrystallisation and grain growth.
The role of dislocations in strengthening mechanisms.
Methods of Teaching/Learning
Intensive five day teaching period including lectures, tutorials and problem solving, followed by assessment package of a nominal 120 hours work, to be submitted within six months (part-time) or six weeks (full-time) of the end of the course week.

Total student learning time 150 hours.

Selected Texts/Journals
Required Reading
Supplied course notes.
Reed-Hill, R. E. and Abbaschian, R., Physical Metallurgy Principles, 3rd ed, PWS-Kent Publishing, 1992.
Last Updated

4 April 2008