Faculty of Engineering

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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.







  • First semester 2016 (Day)


Bonding: atomic/molecular arrangement. Crystal systems: directions and planes, stereographic projection; metallic, ionic and ceramic crystals. Defects; vacancies and interstitials; dislocations; stacking faults, twin and grain boundaries. Thermodynamics: condensed systems; entropy, Gibbs free energy; ideal and non-ideal solutions; surface energy and microstructure. Phase equilibria and microstructures: Gibbs phase rule; free energy diagrams; phase diagrams; deviations from ideality, phase separation; ordering; eutectic, eutectoid, peritectic and peritectoid reactions; non-equilibrium microstructures, implications for physical properties.


On successful completion of this course students will:

  1. understand the definitive characteristics of the key classes of materials and their origins in electronic structure, bonding and atomic/molecular arrangement;

  1. have a thorough knowledge of elementary crystallography, including crystal lattices, elements of symmetry, crystal systems and their representation

  1. recognize common prototype structures for metallic, ionic and ceramic crystals, and possess an understanding of the factors influencing the development of these structures

  1. understand the geometry, crystallography and elastic properties of common crystal defects, and their effects on crystal properties

  1. understand the derivation of binary and ternary alloy phase diagrams from the laws of thermodynamics, in particular the free energy concept, including positive and negative deviations from ideality

  1. appreciate the concepts of equilibrium between multiple phases in binary alloy systems and their embodiment in Gibbs' Phase Rule and the concept of chemical potential

  1. understand the microstructures to be expected for various binary material systems exhibiting, in particular, complete solid solubility, the eutectic, eutectoid, peritectic or peritectoid reactions

  1. appreciate aspects of microstructure controlling solid solubility and the role of surfaces and interfaces in controlling microstrucures

  1. possess an elementary grasp of the consequences of nonequilibrium in binary systems

  1. appreciate the influence of microstructures on some physical properties

  1. have become familiar with the resources of a Library for acquiring information of specific interest to a Materials Engineer

  1. have gained basic laboratory skills applied to study the microstructure of materials

  1. have an ability to communicate within a team in carrying out laboratory work

  1. have an ability to keep accurate laboratory records and to prepare a formal report on an experiment.


Assignments: 18%
Mid semester test: 7%
Laboratory work: 25%
Written examination: 50%

Students are required to achieve at least 45% in the total continuous assessment component (assignments, tests, mid-semester exams, laboratory reports) and at least 45% in the final examination component and an overall mark of 50% to achieve a pass grade in the unit. Students failing to achieve this requirement will be given a maximum of 45% in the unit.

Workload requirements

3 hours lecture/tutorial, 7.5 hours of private study per week and 18 hours laboratory classes per semester

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


MSC2011, MTE2501