Why is materials knowledge important?

Understanding the science behind materials is a valuable skill for engineers. Choosing the right material for a particular application can improve the performance of a product, make it more sustainable or even give it a competitive edge. The materials paradigm is an important relationship which helps explain how a material’s history (its processing) influences its structure, which in turn affects its properties and performance. Grasping these fundamental aspects is a useful skill that students should learn but in introductory courses, where competition for curriculum space is high, how can we engage students in the topic of materials science and engineering?

Improving student engagement

The 2019 release of CES EduPack sees the introduction of a new Materials Science and Engineering (MS&E) Edition which has been designed to support beginner-level materials courses.

Tricky topics, like the Lever Rule, find support from an Interactive Phase Diagram Tool which visually guides students through the problem. Cooling paths for three of the main binary systems help illustrate the change in microstructure and an accompanying glossary graphically defines new terminology e.g. eutectic point. To understand how properties can be manipulated, the effects of heat treatment, solid solution strengthening and precipitation hardening (amongst other techniques) can also be investigated through Property-Process Profiles.

cooling paths gif web

“The Phase Diagram Tool is an extremely valuable interactive simulation that effectively demonstrates, to users, the interpretation of phase diagrams and how this information may be applied to understanding the development of microstructure.”Bill Callister

To reflect the diversifying nature of the discipline, the MS&E Edition also contains a broader range of materials including data on biological materials, functional materials and natural fibers.  Now it is easy to make a materials selection which compares traditional engineering materials to more specialized ones.

Want to know more?

  • Join Prof. Mike Ashby on the 7th of March to hear how the new MS&E edition can be used to engage students on introductory material-related courses. A repeat webinar will also be given on the 9th of March.
  • For educators who already have a CES EduPack Licence, join Dr. Claes Fredriksson on the 13th March for his Quarterly Case Study. In it he will be exploring how ‘Structures and Properties’ can be introduced to students, using stainless steels as an example.

For more information, or to arrange a demo, please get in contact with our Education Team.

Harriet Parnell

Harriet Parnell

Harriet is our Materials Science and Engineering Specialist within the Education Team at Granta Design. She holds a PhD in Materials Engineering and Materials Design, as well as a BSc (Hons) in Biomedical Materials Science, both from the University of Nottingham, UK. Her technical background is in amorphous materials, specifically mid-infrared transparent glasses, for remote biosensing applications. Building on the teaching experience she gained through her doctorate, Harriet now works to create engaging university-level teaching resources, for academics across the world.
Harriet Parnell

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent posts

Learn more about CES EduPack

CES EduPack provides a comprehensive database of materials and process information, powerful materials software tools, and a range of supporting resources: textbooks, lectures, projects, and exercises.