ENG1051 - Materials for energy and sustainability - 2017

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


Professor Nick Birbilis

Unit guides



  • First semester 2017 (Day)
  • Second semester 2017 (Day)


The key engineering challenge in the 21st century and beyond is the efficient use of energy. Energy supply drives our daily life, and there exist challenges in all of: clean energy, renewable energy, energy transmission, energy storage, lightweighting, and energy efficient manufacturing. All of these issues are materials engineering issues.

In this unit, the fundamentals of the structure, design, and application of materials are covered. Attributes such as modulus, strength, toughness, chemical stability, electrical, magnetic, and thermal properties are be explained in terms of atomic bonding, crystal defects and polycrystalline microstructure - and how this relates to end use.

A particular focus will be given to "structure-property" relationships, which is at the core of Materials Engineering, with the subjects concepts elaborated in the context of materials for efficient use of energy. Examples will include aerospace materials and functional materials, amongst others.


On successful completion of this unit students should be able to:

  1. Relate the influence of atomic structure, bonding and nano/microstructures on some physical properties
  2. Have an understanding of the basic mechanical properties, principally elastic modulus and yield stress, and be able to use these as design criteria
  3. Have an understanding of different materials responses to forces and stresses
  4. 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
  5. Understand the processes involved during materials failure and have a broad understanding of how failure can be avoided by appropriate selection of materials and design
  6. Select an appropriate material for a given application based on the above points
  7. Appreciate the socio-political and sustainability issues influencing material selection, commonly experienced as a professional engineer
  8. Have gained basic laboratory skills applied to study the structure and physical properties of materials
  9. Have an ability to keep accurate laboratory records and to prepare a formal report on an experiment


Continuous assessment: 50%

Examination (2 hours): 50%

Students are required to achieve at least 45% in the total continuous assessment component and at least 45% in the final examination component and an overall mark of 50% to achieve a pass grade in this unit. Students failing to achieve this requirement will be given a maximum of 45% in the unit.

Workload requirements

Three 1-hour lecture/practice classes, one 2-hour laboratory class (not run each week) and 7 hours private study per week.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)