Module code: ENGM099

Module provider

Mechanical Engineering Sciences

Module Leader

WHITING MJ Dr (Mech Eng Sci)

Number of Credits


ECT Credits



FHEQ Level 7

JACs code


Module cap (Maximum number of students)


Module Availability

Semester 2

Overall student workload

Independent Study Hours: 122

Lecture Hours: 19

Tutorial Hours: 9

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting

Alternative Assessment

A written examination may be set for students who have failed the coursework assessments and are resitting the assessment in the same academic year.   

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module overview

The module provides a systematic overview of the central principles of physical metallurgy. Students successfully completing the module will have a critical awareness of the key principles of metallurgy relevant to exploiting structural alloys in engineering applications.


Module aims

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 most common phase transformations that occur in commercial alloys

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

Attributes Developed
Describe and comment on the basic principles of the thermodynamics and kinetics of phase transformations. KC
Demonstrate an understanding of how phase transformations determine microstructure. KC
Demonstrate an understanding of how specific principles of thermodynamics and kinetics underpin materials ‘problems'. KC
Demonstrate an understanding of the underlying issues through the appropriate interpretation of assessment questions. KCT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Module content

Indicative content: the course includes lectures and tutorials on:

The thermodynamic basis of phase diagrams
Binary equilibrium 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
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
An introduction to the physical metallurgy of high-strength wrought aluminium alloys
An overview of titanium alloys
An introduction to martensitic, stainless and maraging steels.


Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to introduce the fundamentals of physical metallurgy through lectures and tutorials.

The learning and teaching methods include:

19 hours lectures
9 hours tutorial classes
122 hours coursework.

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


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy:

Set of short questions covering the entire syllabus which require demonstration of an understanding of the underlying issues relevant to a wide range of issues in, and aspects of, physical metallurgy. The long questions require extensive research to identify and integrate information on an issue central to the understanding and use of alloys in an engineering context. The research is based on information from self-determined sources and an understanding of the core principles covered in the taught material.

Summative assessment and formative feedback

·         Q1 (4 x short answer) + Q2 (long answer question)

[Learning outcomes 1-5]        (45 hours)        Mon/Tues 2 weeks after end of course {40%}

·         Q3 (6 x short answer) + Q4 (long answer question)

[Learning outcomes 1-5]        (75 hours)        Mon/Tues 6 weeks after end of course {60%}

·         Formative verbal feedback is given in lectures and tutorials.

·         Written feedback is given on the first assessment coursework (Q1 & Q2), which is submitted in advance of the final summative assessment.

Reading list


Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Advanced Materials MSc 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Micro- and NanoMaterials and Technologies EngD 2 Optional 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.