MTE3547 - Materials characterisation and modelling - 2019

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

Chief examiner(s)

Professor Neil Cameron


Assoc Professor Matthew Weyland

Unit guides



  • Second semester 2019 (On-campus)


MSC2011 or MTE2541 or PHS2011




Metals, ceramics and polymers may be characterised using a number of techniques, and some of these will be explored in this unit. The techniques can be broadly split into direct (imaging, chemical analysis) and indirect (scattering) techniques. The principles underlying techniques such as x-ray diffractometry, electron microscopy, photoelectron or mass spectroscopy are explained. Students will investigate the design of experiments, testing for relationships among variables and curve fitting. Models will be related to the characterisation techniques studied by the application of appropriate models to real data.


Upon successful completion of this unit students will develop skills to be able to:

  1. Understand the interaction of ionising radiation with materials and the resultant secondary effects; derive the structure factor and extinction law in diffraction events.
  2. Account for the optics in optical and electron microscopy and types of lens defects and the limit of resolution.
  3. Understand the electron inelastic mean free path and the escape depth and their significance in surface analysis.
  4. Interpret results of basic characterisation techniques which include XRD, SEM and TEM.
  5. Recognise the capabilities of a range of other characterisation techniques including XPS/UPS, AES, RBS and SIMS.
  6. Identify significant interactions among variables in an experiment, and design an experiment to extract those interactions.
  7. Use a difference equation to model simple dynamical systems.
  8. Propose and analyse an appropriate model for given scenarios.
  9. Construct a simple simulation using a probabilistic model.


NOTE: From 1 July 2019, the duration of all exams is changing to combine reading and writing time. The new exam duration for this unit is 2 hours and 10 minutes.

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 the unit. Students failing to achieve this requirement will be given a maximum of 45% in the unit.

Workload requirements

Three 1-hour lecture/applied classes and 7 hours of private study per week, and four 5-hours laboratory sessions throughout the semester.

See also Unit timetable information

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

Materials science