Last Updated S022019


Unit Code MME501
Unit Duration 1 Term (online) or 1 Semester (on-campus)

Graduate Diploma of Engineering (Mechanical)
Duration: 1 year

Master of Engineering (Mechanical)
Duration: 2 years  

Year Level One
Unit Creator / Reviewer Vernon Benjamin
Core/Elective: Core
Pre/Co-requisites Nil
Credit Points


Grad Dip total course credit points = 24
(3 credits x 8 (units))

Masters total course credit points = 48
(12 credits (Thesis) + 3 credits x 12 (units))

Mode of Delivery Online or on-campus. 
Unit Workload

Student workload including “contact hours” = 10 hours per week:

Lecture – 1 hour

Tutorial – 1 hour

Practical / Lab – 1 hour (if applicable)

Personal Study recommended – 7 hours

Unit Description and General Aims

Mechanical engineers must have a sound knowledge of materials; their properties, how to work them and maintain them. Materials in the 21st century are not only metals but a large range of plastics, elastomers, ceramics but even types of wood.
The student will obtain a sound knowledge of the metallurgy of both ferrous and non-ferrous metals as well as working knowledge of alloys and eutectic systems. The principles of heat treatment, forming, joining metals by various means, surface treatments to enhance required properties or to provide corrosion protection will be discussed.
The uses of various types of engineering plastics will be explained; students will recognise their advantages and limitations. Composite materials (GRPs, for instance) and their repair in practice will be explained. The student will appreciate how materials are converted into useful artifacts by using 3D methods.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this Unit, students are expected to be able to:

  1. Evaluate how materials have shaped societies throughout history.
    • Bloom’s Level 5
  2. Assess the origins of the most used materials and have an awareness of their social and environmental consequences
    • Bloom’s Level 5
  3. Determine the physics of materials, and metals, including atomic, crystalline and molecular structures.
    • Bloom’s Level 5
  4. Formulate the method for the further working of materials, including alloying, to achieve desired engineering properties.
    • Bloom’s Level 6
  5. Critique material testing and implement collaboration with others in undertaking tests and reaching conclusions.
    • Bloom’s Level 5
  6. Synthesise material data sourcing and compare materials, by calculation where necessary. To decide, considering all factors especially engineering, social, environmental and economic, which materials best meet the particular requirements
    • Bloom’s Level 6

Student assessment

Assessment Type (e.g. Assignment - 2000 word essay (specify topic) Examination (specify length and format))

When assessed (e.g. Week 5)

Weighting (% of total unit marks) Learning Outcomes Assessed

Assessment 1

Type: Multi-choice test (Proctored) / Group work / Short answer questions / Role Play / Self-Assessment / Presentation

Example Topic: Up to topic 5.

After Topic 5  15% 1, 2, 3, 5

Assessment 2 - mid-semester test

Type: Mid-semester test (Proctored) / Report / Research/ Paper / Case Study / Site Visit / Problem analysis /Project / Professional recommendation

Example: Short/Long answers and Problems to solve

Topic: Up to topic 9

After Topic 9  25% 4, 5

Assessment 3

Type: Practical assessments, Remote labs, Simulation software or Case studies.

Example: Useful artefacts using 3D methods   

After Topic 11 20%  6

Assessment 4

Type: Report (Final Project)

[A complete report with sections on: methodology, implementation / evaluation, verification / validation, conclusion / challenges and recommendations / future work. If this is a new report, all headings from the midterm and the final reports must be included.]

Word length: 3000, excluding makers’ diagrams and layout drawings.

Topic: To select suitable materials for the various parts of a complex mechanical machine. (The type of machine and desired performance of its individual parts will be nominated by the course co-ordinator). Full references must be made to materials data sources; all calculations relevant to the materials selected will be shown. The student must also show that economic, environmental and ethical factors have been considered.

After Topic 12 35% 3, 4, 5, 6

Attendance / Tutorial Participation

Example: Presentation, discussion, group work, exercises, self-assessment/reflection, case study analysis, application.

Continuous 5% 1 - 6


Prescribed and Recommended readings

Required Textbook

  • W. D. Callister, D. D. Rethwish, Materials Science and Engineering: An Introduction, 10th Edition. John Wily and Sons, Inc., 2018. ISBN: 978-1119405498

  • R. W. Messler Jr., The Essence of Materials for Engineers. Jones and Bartlett Learning, 2010. ISBN: 978-0763778330


Reference Materials

  • Materials handbook, 10th edition, ASM, Metals Park OH, 1990
  • Martin Grayson (ed.), Encyclopaedia of composite materials and components, John Wiley and sons, NY, 1983
  • Other texts, peer-reviewed journals and websites as advised during lectures.

Unit Content

One topic is delivered per contact week, with the exception of part-time 24-week units, where one topic is delivered every two weeks.

Topic 1


  1. Introduction to Materials Engineering
  2. Materials universe
  3. Evolution of materials,
  4. Classification of materials: metals, ceramics and polymers.

Topic 2

Structure and Classification of Materials

  1. Interatomic bonding,
  2. Crystalline and non-crystalline materials,
  3. Crystal structures,
  4. Crystalline solids and hard sphere models, concept of unit cell,
  5. Calculation of theoretical density,
  6. Packing factor, defects in crystalline solids

Topic 3 

Mechanical Properties of Materials

  1. Mechanical properties
  2. Introduction to tensile test
  3. Tensile properties, engineering and true values of stress and strain
  4. Tensile strength and yield strength
  5. Young’s Modulus, poison’s ratio
  6. Hardness, hardness test
  7. Introduction to plasticity of metals

Topic 4

Failure Mechanisms

  1. Mechanical failure
  2. Fracture and fracture mechanics
  3. Flaw theory
  4. Fatigue of engineering materials
  5. Goodman’s theory
  6. Creep and relaxation

Topic 5

Metals and Alloys

  1. Metal alloys
  2. Structure and properties of iron based alloys
  3. Stainless steel and cast irons
  4. Carbon equivalence
  5. Aluminium alloys
  6. Copper alloys
  7. Titanium and refractory materials

Topic 6

Phase Diagrams and Iron-Carbon System

  1. Phase diagrams
  2. Binary systems
  3. Application of lever rule
  4. Iron-carbon system
  5. Time-temperature transformation

Topic 7

Strengthening of Metals

  1. Strengthening of metals
  2. Solid solution strengthening
  3. Heat treatment and grain size reduction
  4. Cold working
  5. Precipitation hardening
  6. Diffusion with case studies


Topic 8

Corrosion and Degradation

  1. Corrosion and degradation of materials
  2. Types and mechanisms of corrosion
  3. Electrochemical corrosion and EMF series
  4. Uniform corrosion
  5. Galvanic corrosion
  6. Crevice and pitting corrosion
  7. Prevention against corrosion
  8. Metallic and non-metallic coatings
  9. Selection of materials
  10. Catholic protection with case studies

Topic 9

Thermal and Electrical Properties of Materials

  1. Thermal properties of materials
  2. Thermal conductivity
  3. Heat capacity, temperature effects of heat capacity
  4. Thermal expansion
  5. Electrical properties of materials
  6. Conductivity, resistivity, temperature effects on electrical properties
  7. Effect of composition on electrical properties
  8. Effect of atomic structure and cold work

Topic 10


  1. Ceramics
  2. Structure of ceramics
  3. Hard sphere model of ceramics and coordination number
  4. Mechanical properties of ceramics
  5. Modulus or rupture, flexural strength
  6. Applications and modifications of ceramics with case studies


Topic 11  


  1. Classification of polymers
  2. Common polymer molecules
  3. Molecular weight (size), shape and architecture of common polymers
  4. Crystallinity, mechanical properties of polymers
  5. Deformation mechanism of semi-crystalline polymers
  6. Deformation mechanism of elastomers
  7. Application of polymers with case studies

Topic 12

Future Materials and Sustainability

  1. Future engineering materials
  2. Smart materials
  3. Material economics
  4. Design and selection
  5. Development of new materials to reduce environmental effects and pollution
  6. Bio-materials
  7. Materials leading towards sustainability and case studies

Engineers Australia

The Australian Engineering Stage 1 Competency Standards for the Professional Engineer, approved as of 2013. This table is referenced in the mapping of graduate attributes to learning outcomes and via the learning outcomes to student assessment.

Stage 1 Competencies and Elements Competency
1. Knowledge and Skill Base
1.1 Comprehensive, theory based understanding of the underpinning natural and physical sciences and the engineering fundamentals applicable to the engineering discipline.
1.2 Conceptual understanding of the mathematics, numerical analysis, statistics, and computer and information sciences which underpin the engineering discipline.
1.3 In-depth understanding of specialist bodies of knowledge within the engineering discipline.
1.4 Discernment of knowledge development and research directions within the engineering discipline.
1.5 Knowledge of engineering design practice and contextual factors impacting the engineering discipline.
1.6 Understanding of the scope, principles, norms, accountabilities and bounds of sustainable engineering practice in the specific discipline.
2. Engineering Application Ability
2.1 Application of established engineering methods to complex engineering problem solving.
2.2 Fluent application of engineering techniques, tools and resources.
2.3 Application of systematic engineering synthesis and design processes.
2.4 Application of systematic approaches to the conduct and management of engineering projects.
3. Professional and Personal Attributes
3.1 Ethical conduct and professional accountability.
3.2 Effective oral and written communication in professional and lay domains.
3.3 Creative, innovative and pro-active demeanor.
3.4 Professional use and management of information.
3.5 Orderly management of self and professional conduct.
3.6 Effective team membership and team leadership.

Software/Hardware Used


  • Software: N/A

  • Version: N/A

  • Instructions:  N/A

  • Additional resources or files: N/A


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