4MA00 - Structure and properties of materials


In this course, fundamental aspects of materials science are treated. The course will focus on the atomic/molecular structure of materials, their microstructure and the relation with the mechanical properties, with emphasis on metallic and polymeric materials.

The starting point will be the discussion of atomic models, atomic interactions, bonds and molecular structure. Subsequently, several crystal structures and their properties will be discussed. Defects in these crystal structures (dislocations, vacancies, and impurities) form the basis for plastic deformation mechanisms in crystalline materials and methods to influence the yield behaviour of these materials.

The thermodynamics and kinetics of phase transformations are discussed. Attention is paid to the physics and the interpretation of phase diagrams and isothermal transformation and CCT diagrams. The iron-carbon phase diagram and the phases present for this material will be discussed, where attention will be paid to the development of microstructures in equilibrium and non-equilibrium situations. Possibilities are given to manipulate these structures, and thereby the mechanical properties, through heat treatments.
Subsequently, a survey of the properties of polymers is given, as they are on one side governed by molecular structure and on the other side are responsible for the practical use of plastics, either through processing or through the properties of the final product. Special attention is given to the similarities and differences between polymers and metals, especially concerning the mechanical properties and ultimate failure of the material under long-term (static or dynamic) loads.

Learning objectives

The development of a fundamental understanding of the microstructure of materials, the development and the evolution of this microstructure, and the relation with the mechanical properties of these materials. Using this knowledge, the mechanical properties can be manipulated by influencing this microstructure in a thermal or mechanical way.