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Fundamentals of Materials - ELE00037C

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  • Department: Electronic Engineering
  • Module co-ordinator: Mr. Martin Coulton
  • Credit value: 10 credits
  • Credit level: C
  • Academic year of delivery: 2022-23
    • See module specification for other years: 2021-22

Module summary

An introduction to the physics and properties of metals, ceramics & polymers. Through a series of lectures and laboratory classes, this module will provide a fundamental understanding of the electrical, magnetic and mechanical properties of materials used in electronic and electrical equipment.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Spring Term 2022-23

Module aims

Subject content aims:

  • To develop an understanding of the fundamental structures of engineering materials.

  • To introduce the wide range of materials used in electronic/electrical engineering and their fundamental, physical properties.

  • To introduce an understanding of how material properties can be used in practical engineering applications

  • To facilitate materials selection in project design.

  • To utilise specific physical properties for use as sensors providing feedback for control of systems

  • To provide reinforcement of learning using laboratory investigations  


Graduate skills aims:

  • To develop an appreciation of materials science

  • To develop an understanding of materials selection and applications

  • To instil professional laboratory working practice

Module learning outcomes

Subject content learning outcomes

After successful completion of this module, students will be able to:

  • describe how the structures of materials affect their mechanical, thermal, electrical and optical properties

  • Describe a wide range of materials found in electrical engineering, including metals, semiconductors, ceramics and polymers 

  • Apply knowledge of material properties to design selection in electrical equipment

  • Describe the fundamental operation of a range of materials used as sensors

  • Describe the limitations of materials in operation such as thermal effects

  • Describe reasons for and best practice in professional laboratory working practices (safety, use of logbooks, experimental record keeping and measurement techniques)


Graduate skills learning outcomes

After successful completion of this module, students will be able to:

  • Identify and select materials appropriately for a task

  • Be able to describe the operation of a range of components based on what they are made of

  • Plan and manage their time in a laboratory setting

Module content

Professional Practice embedded into this module:

  • Health and Safety, assessing risk

  • Competence in laboratory Practice

  • Written communication skills

  • Personal and Group Skills

  • Improved communication of technical concepts

  • Engineering standards and Regulation


Task Length % of module mark
Lab Related Coursework
N/A 30
University - closed examination
Fundamentals of Materials
1.5 hours 70

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Lab Related Coursework
N/A 30
University - closed examination
Fundamentals of Materials
1.5 hours 70

Module feedback

The Department of Electronic Engineering aims to provide some form of feedback on all formative and summative assessments that are carried out during the degree programme.  In general, feedback on any written work/assignments undertaken will be sufficient so as to indicate the nature of the changes needed in order to improve the work.  Students are provided with their examination results within 20 working days of the end of any given examination period.  The Department will also endeavour to return all coursework feedback within 20 working days of the submission deadline.  The Department would normally expect to adhere to the times given, however, it is possible that exceptional circumstances may delay feedback.  The Department will endeavour to keep such delays to a minimum.  Please note that any marks released are subject to ratification by the Board of Examiners and Senate.  Meetings at the start/end of each term provide you with an opportunity to discuss and reflect with your supervisor on your overall performance to date

Indicative reading

W.D. Callister Jr; “Materials Science and Engineering and Introduction”, 7th Edition, J. Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, NJ (2007). ISBN 0471736961

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.