Learning goals

The goal of this course is to give you the tools and understanding to answer the following questions about “stuff”:

  • What is it? (composition and microstructure)
  • What does it do? (material properties and performance)
  • How is it made? (manufacturing, life cycle)
  • Why is it made? (societal and economic context)

Most of our time and energy will be spent on the first two questions. More specifically, in this course, you will

  1. connect macroscopic material properties to microscopic structure, bonding, and composition
  2. identify which materials properties are important for a given application and describe why
  3. quantify the important performance characteristics of a material for a given application
  4. work effectively as a member of a team
  5. use written, oral, and graphical communication to convey
    methods, results, and conclusions
  6. explore an aspect of the material system and its context, for example
    1. evaluate the societal impacts of materials and materials systems
    2. explain and predict the effects of processing on material structure and properties


There will be one group project that will culminate with a poster session on November 3.

Weekly, there will be smaller assignments that will provide scaffolding for the project. When sending me work for feedback, please follow the homework guidelines.


Before meeting on Tuesdays, you are expected to read the scheduled chapters and (try to) work through the associated examples and problems.

On Tuesdays, we will discuss the readings and problems.

On Wednesdays, we will apply what we learned to your project.

The weekly reading assignments and project questions can be found on the course homepage.

Required resources