Faculty of Engineering

print version

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2016 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

Monash University

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit

Department of Materials Science and Engineering


Dr Graham Edward



  • Second semester 2016 (Day)


This unit will give the students an appreciation of materials, their place in the environment and ways of dealing with their presence in the waste stream. The students will gain a basic understanding of the structure and properties of the main classes of materials: metals, polymers and ceramics. Students will learn about the ways in which these different materials can be disposed of, ranging from incineration, recycling and degradation, and the technologies involved in these processes. The advantages of these methods, as opposed simply to landfill, will be discussed. Methods of sorting of different materials from the waste stream into their various components will also be covered.


On successful completion of this course students will:

  1. Understand the broad interrelationship of materials in society and issues related to their reuse or disposal

  1. Have a basic understanding of the mechanical properties of materials, of how these properties are measured and their importance in various applications

  1. Have an understanding of the key classes of materials (metals, ceramics and polymers), how their structure relates to their properties and applications and how this differs between classes

  1. Understand the technical aspects of other alternatives to disposing of these materials such as incineration, degradation and recycling

  1. Have an understanding of the basic concepts of an energy balance (life-cycle analysis) with regards materials usage .


Examination (3 hours): 50%
Two written assignments: 20%
Two tests (30 mins): 15%
Laboratory work: 15%

Workload requirements

3 hours of lectures/problem solving classes per week, 3 x 3 hrs laboratory classes per semester and 7 hours of private study per week.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)