Characterisation of Advanced Materials - 2017/8

Module code: ENGD022

Module provider

Mechanical Engineering Sciences

Module Leader

WATTS JF Prof (Mech Eng Sci)

Number of Credits


ECT Credits



FHEQ Level 8

JACs code


Module cap (Maximum number of students)


Module Availability

Semester 1

Overall student workload

Independent Study Hours: 30

Lecture Hours: 10

Tutorial Hours: 10

Laboratory Hours: 10

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Short answer questions 50
Coursework Long answer question involving calculation, analysis, discussion involving core aspects of the module. 50

Alternative Assessment


Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module overview

This module describes popular methods for the microscopy and the bulk and surface analysis of advanced materials.

Module aims

provide a systematic understanding of the principles, equipment and practices of the most popular materials characterisation methods based on microscopy, chemical, physical and structural analysis and thermal techniques

Equip students with the knowledge of a broad range of characterisation techniques, such that they clearly understand the capabilities of such methods and their role in completing the process-structure-property relationship.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
Have an understanding of the principles and a knowledge of the capabilities and limitations of the different types of analysis covered in the course A1 C??17K
Demonstrate an understanding of the underlying issues through the appropriate interpretation of assessment questions C??17K
Be able to recommend appropriate methods for particular problems and have a good understanding of the data obtained adhesive C??17K
Apply course subject matter for research and advanced academic enquiry C

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Module content

Content includes:
The methods to be included are X-ray analysis in the electron microscope by energy dispersive and wavelength dispersive spectrometry (EDS and WDS); surface analysis by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and Auger electron spectroscopy (AES); together with the ion beam techniques of secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) and Rutherford backscattering spectrometry (RBS). Structure determination by X-ray and electron diffraction (XRD and ED) will also be included.
The module is directed at scientists and engineers who require a grounding in these methods for trouble-shooting investigations or longer term research projects. The basic principles used for the physical characterisation of materials will be outlined; microscopy by light, electrons and scanned probes will be introduced and the readily available bulk characterisation methods such as diffraction, X-ray analysis and vibrational spectroscopies will be described. Surface analysis by electron and ion spectroscopies will also form and important part of the course. Particular emphasis will be paid to the use of a variety of methods in multi-technique approaches for the characterisation of advanced materials.

• Overview of Physical Property Characterisation
• Thermal Analysis
• X-Ray Diffraction – Basic Concepts
• X-Ray Diffraction – Examples
• Infra-Red Spectroscopy
• Light Microscopy
• Image Acquisition Analysis and Processing
• Electron Interactions
• Scanning Electron Microscopy I & II
• Chemical Analysis in Electron Microscopy
• Transmission Electron Microscopy
• Scanning Probe Microscopies
• Auger Electron Spectroscopy and Microscopy
• Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry
• Particulate Systems
• Inorganic Thin Films and Coatings
• Organic Coatings
• X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:
Introduce the fundamental principles of the popular methods of microscopy and analysis. This is achieved principally though lectures and laboratory demonstrations.

The learning and teaching methods include:
• 22 hours lectures
• 8 hours tutorial classes
• 30 hours coursework.

The teaching is delivered as a one-week intensive course.

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate both a knowledge across the whole breadth of the module and a deeper cognitive/analytical ability alongside deeper knowledge in specified areas.

The 5 short questions of the assessment package are able to test knowledge and understanding of a broad range of topics covered in the module. The longer question is aimed at assessing the knowledge of specific chosen topics and depth of understanding expected at this level.

Thus, the summative assessment for this unit consists of:
• Q1 (Short answer questions) 50%
• Q2 (Essay question) 50%

Formative assessment
• Formative verbal feedback is given in lectures and tutorials.

• Written feedback is given on the submitted coursework

Reading list

Reading list for Characterisation of Advanced Materials :

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Micro- and NanoMaterials and Technologies EngD 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2017/8 academic year.