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MATSE 201 - Introduction to Materials Science

This is a sample syllabus.

This sample syllabus is a representative example of the information and materials included in this course. Information about course assignments, materials, and dates listed here is subject to change at any time. Definitive course details and materials will be available in the official course syllabus, in Canvas, when the course begins.


Description: Concepts of relationships between structure and thermal, optical, magnetic, electrical, and mechanical properties of inorganic materials.

Modern science and technology are highly dependent on materials whose properties can be controlled to accommodate a wide range of applications. The multidisciplinary field of materials science and engineering outlines approaches to enhance the manipulation of existing materials and synthesis of new materials. Further, the study of materials science and engineering provides the basis for understanding material properties with respect to chemistry and atomic structure and specifically the ability to tailor chemistry and structure to bring about specific properties. The purpose of this course is to present to students the basic principles necessary to understand structure-property relations in engineering materials. The course assumes a basic knowledge of general physics, general chemistry, and mathematics. With these tools and the subject matter outlined in this course, students will obtain a wide knowledge of modern challenges to the application of modern materials. When appropriate, state-of-the-art problems will be discussed to illustrate the structure-property relationship in materials. The student will grasp concepts of structure from bonding to microstructure, and then learn to consider the interrelationships between structure and property. Properties that are mechanical, thermal, electrical, optical, magnetic, and chemical in nature will all be considered. Further, examples will be given to discuss the manipulation of these structure-property relationships in terms of the engineering of materials.


The objectives of the course shall be to enable students to:

  • comprehend why the design of structure in all classes of inorganic materials has a profound impact on observed properties;
  • identify different types of structure in all classes of inorganic materials;
  • define crystal structures and identify phases using x-ray diffraction;
  • describe the impacts of defects at the atomic and microstructure scales;
  • interpret unary and binary phase diagrams, understand the concepts of solid solution and solubility limits and be able to predict the development of microstructures and impacts of phase transformations;
  • explain basic diffusion;
  • describe how different classes of inorganic materials are processed; and
  • explain the qualities and quantifications of mechanical, thermal, electrical, optical, magnetic, and chemical properties.

Required Materials

Typically, there are no required materials for this course. If this changes, students will find a definitive list in the course syllabus, in Canvas, when the course begins.


CHEM 112 or MATSE 112


We have worked hard to make this the most effective and convenient educational experience possible. How much and how well you learn is dependent on your attitude, diligence, and willingness to ask for clarifications or help when you need them. We are here to help you succeed. Please keep up with the class schedule and take advantage of opportunities to communicate with us and with your fellow students. You can expect to spend an average of 8 - 10 hours per week on class work.

Major Assignments

Students earn grades that reflect the extent to which they achieve the learning objectives listed above. Opportunities to demonstrate learning include the following, and grades will be based on percentages assigned to each of several components of the course as follows:

  • Weekly Homework (30% of total course grade)
  • Participation (5% of total course grade)
    Participation includes muddiest point contributions, discussion posts and attendance to at least one office hour.
  • 2 Mid-term Exams (45% of total course grade)
  • Final Exam (20% of total course grade)

Course Schedule

Course Schedule
  • Introduction to Materials Sciences
  • Atomic Bonding
  • Homework
  • Participation
  • Introduction to Crystal Chemistry
  • Bravais Lattices
  • Miller Indices
  • Homework
  • Participation
  • X-ray Diffraction
  • 0-D, 1-D, and 2-D Defects
  • Homework
  • Participation
  • Exam 1
  • Concept of Diffusion
  • Fick's 1st and 2nd Laws
  • Homework
  • Participation
  • Heat and Work
  • The Laws of Thermodynamics
  • Gibbs Free Energy and State Functions
  • Homework
  • Participation
  • Interpreting Phase Diagrams
  • Gibbs Phase Rule and the Lever Rule
  • Microstructures and Phase Transitions
  • Growth and Nucleation
  • TTT Diagrams
  • Homework
  • Participation
  • Exam 2
  • Processing of Metals, Ceramics, and Polymers
  • Stress-Strain Diagrams
  • Mechanical Properties Testing
  • Creep, Hardness, and Toughness
  • Homework
  • Participation
  • Heat Capacity
  • Thermal Conductivity
  • Thermal Expansion and Shock
  • Homework
  • Participation
  • Electronic Properties
  • Semiconductors
  • Magnetic and Optical Properties
  • Homework
  • Participation
  • Exam 3
  • Electrochemistry
  • Corrosion
  • Homework
  • Participation
Final Exam