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Course description

It is estimated 70 per cent of innovations are due to an advance in materials. This course provides a solid grounding in all types of materials, and aims to prepare you for a career in industry or research by teaching the concepts and theories that make materials science and engineering possible.

Our research-led teaching introduces you to all the latest developments. You’ll have the option to keep your course general or tailor your degree with optional modules to specialise in the area that interests you the most.

Teaching

Working alongside students and staff from across the globe, you’ll tackle real-world projects, and attend lectures, seminars and laboratory classes delivered by academic and industry experts.

You’ll be assessed by formal examinations, coursework and a dissertation.

Taught Modules

  • Science of Materials - This module introduces key concepts involved in materials science to cover general aspects and applications of metallic, polymeric and inorganic materials. Topics covered include; chemical bonding; basic crystallography of crystalline materials; crystal defects; mechanical properties and strength of materials; phase diagrams and transformations; overviews of metals and alloys; polymers and inorganic solids.
  • Materials Processing and Characterisation - This module introduces the processes and technologies involved in the production of metals, polymers, ceramics and composites and the experimental methods used to characterise these materials. Topics are broken into two areas: Fabrication and processing of materials, e.g. powder, thermomechanical and polymer/composites; and Analysis of materials using a range of techniques, e.g. diffraction, spectroscopy, and thermal analysis.
  • Practical, Modelling and Digital Skills - This module develops students’ skills in 3 linked areas: materials characterisation laboratory skills including safe methods of working, completion of COSHH and risk assessments, and measurements using a range of practical techniques; the use of computers for data handling and analysis together with an introduction to modelling; the skills needed to search for scientific literature as well as technical skills for presenting data, including how to avoid plagiarism, referencing, formatting documents, drawing high quality graphs, critically reviewing literature and giving presentations.
  • Heat and Materials with Application - This module examines both the transfer of heat to/from materials and thermally activated processes that occur during the manufacture of materials due to the transfer of heat into materials. There is also some consideration of the effects of heat during use. Conduction, convection and radiative heat transfer, on their own and in combination are considered, followed by an examination of diffusion and sintering.

One from each of the following groups:

  • Nuclear Reactor Engineering Studies - The module provides an introduction to the theory and practise of nuclear reactors for power production. This includes those aspects of physics which represent the source of nuclear energy and the factors governing its release as well as the key issues involved in the critical operation of nuclear cores.
  • Functional and Structural Ceramics - This unit covers six topics in inorganic and functional materials: thin/thick film and bulk electroceramic; materials devices and applications; non-oxide ceramics; ceramics for the nuclear fuel industry; and structural ceramics.
  • Engineering Alloys - This unit covers engineering alloys ranging from light alloys to steels. The course centres on the physical metallurgy of such engineering alloys to demonstrate the effect of alloying and its implications for the processing, microstructure and performance of structural pipeline steels, large scale forgings and aerospace components.
  • Glasses and Cements - The nature of amorphous glass structures for silicates, borates and phosphates is examined, along with the processes required to produce them. Types of cement, their manufacture, and their reaction processes in setting/hardening and in service are discussed, and the importance of understanding cement chemistry in optimising modern cements is highlighted.
  • Metallurgical Processing - The module provides an introduction to the processes and technologies involved in the production of steel, aluminium, and titanium. Methodologies of how microstructure can be significantly improved via thermomechanical processing are investigated. This module will describe the underlying engineering principles of plastic forming and focus on some of the main metallic production techniques such as extrusion, rolling and wire drawing.
  • Advanced Nuclear Systems - The aims of this module are to develop an understanding of the role of materials science and engineering in nuclear systems. The module will explore advanced nuclear concepts, including: materials for nuclear energy systems; advanced nuclear systems; nuclear materials performance and radiation damage.
  • Deformation, Fracture and Fatigue - Deformation, fracture and fatigue are important mechanical phenomena in both metals processing and use. The role of dislocations in and the effects of microstructural features on the plastic deformation of metals is initially explored. The effects of plasticity effects on fracture in metals including plastic zones at crack tips and cyclical fatigue are considered.
  • Solid State Chemistry - Inorganic solids have a very wide range of applications as functional materials because of their ability to exhibit a complete spectrum of electrical, magnetic, optical and multifunctional properties. By understanding their structure-composition-property relations, it is possible design properties for specific applications.
  • Materials for Energy Applications - This module aims to develop students’ understanding of materials (ferrous and non ferrous alloys, ceramics, films) used for energy generation, storage and utilisation. By the end of this course, you will be able to understand: the importance of materials for energy generation; the advantages and limitations of different materials for different applications; issues related to sustainability and Life Cycle Analysis.
  • Design and Manufacture of Composites - This module is designed to provide students with an understanding of both the design and manufacture of composite materials. Classical laminate theory is introduced followed by both hand and computer based calculations to design effective composite materials. The materials and manufacturing techniques are described, along with important practical issues such as repair, defects, testing and SMART materials.
  • Advanced Materials Manufacturing - This unit covers a range of advanced materials manufacturing techniques that are either widely used or emerging in industry. Techniques include Additive Layer Manufacturing, Electron Beam Welding, Superplastic Forming and advanced machining approaches.
  • Nanostructures and Nanostructuring - This course introduces nanostructures, and methods of nanopatterning and nanocharacterisation . There is particular emphasis on nanoparticles, nanotubes, composite nanotubes, nanowires and belts.

Visit the MSc Materials Science and Engineering page on the University of Sheffield website for more details!

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