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MSC1010 - Materials in our environment

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Science

Leader: Assoc Prof Trevor Finlayson


Clayton First semester 2007 (Day)
Clayton Second semester 2007 (Day)


This unit consists of three components broadly summarised as follows: Key concepts in the design, selection and application of materials; attributes such as stiffness (modulus), strength, toughness, chemical stability, electrical, magnetic, and thermal properties will be explained in terms of atomic bonding, crystal defects, polycrystalline microstructure and material flaws; case studies will include a broad range of materials such as carbon nano tubes, microchips, reinforced concrete, biomaterials, suspension bridge, and aerospace components, all used in a diverse range of materials applications.


On successful completion of this subject students will be able to: appreciate the influence of atomic structure, bonding and nano/microstructures have on some physical properties;have an understanding of different materials responses to forces and stresses;have an understanding of the basic mechanical properties, principally elastic modulus and yield stress, and be able to use these as design criteria;be familiar with processes occurring during plastic deformation and to draw upon these concepts in order to know how to strengthen the material;know how to tailor the mechanical properties of a polymeric material using control over crystallinity and the glass transition;understand the role of composite materials in engineering, and their responses to applied stresses;understand the processes involved during fracture and have a broad understanding of how fracture can be avoided by appropriate selection of materials and design;have a basic understanding of the thermal, electrical and magnetic properties of materials in terms of the atomic and electronic characteristics of materials and to use these criteria for material selection;understand the processes of corrosion and degradation in the environment and to draw upon these to increase the lifetime through appropriate protection and material selection; be able to select an appropriate material for a given application based on the above points; appreciate the socio-political and sustainability issues influencing material selection; have become familiar with the resources of a library for acquiring information of specific interest to a Materials Scientist; have gained basic laboratory skills applied to study the microstructure & physical properties of materials;have an ability to communicate within a team in carrying out laboratory work; and have an ability to keep accurate laboratory records and to prepare a formal report on an experiment.


Examination (2hrs) 50%
Laboratory work 20%
Assignments 10%
Tests 20%

Contact hours

Three 1-hour lectures/tutorial classes, one 2-hour laboratory class and 7 hours private study per week


VCE Mathematical Methods units 3 and 4


MTH1010, if pre-requisites are not satisfied


ENG1501, ENG1050