Asee peer logo

Applied Materials Science A Fundamental Course For Engineers

Download Paper |


2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Teaching Materials Sci&Eng to Non-Majors

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.218.1 - 7.218.13



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Mark Palmer

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Main Menu Session 2364

Applied Materials Science - A Fundamental Course for Engineers

Mark A. Palmer1, Robert E. Pearson, Kenneth J. Wynne2 1 Kettering University 2 Virginia Commonwealth University


Materials selection is a required part of design, and thus if design is to be incorporated throughout a curriculum it is necessary that the students be exposed to the fundamentals of materials science early in their careers. This has been done in a freshman-level materials engineering course designed to meet the needs of general engineering students and not those of materials scientists. The subject matter is presented in an order consistent with the "chain" pedagogy - that processing changes structure and structure determines properties. By presenting the structure and processing fundamentals early in the course, we are able to spend the last half of the term enabling students to make electrical, chemical and mechanical design decisions based on experimental data. Doing so allowed us to fully incorporate polymers into the course, rather than as an "add-on". The course concepts are taught through a studio-based recitation which includes simple laboratory experiments and demonstrations, supplemented by lecture. At Virginia Commonwealth University this allowed us to let freshman participate in semiconductor device fabrication. This paper focuses on the content and teaching of “Applied Materials Science”.


The purpose of engineering education is well described by the words of Stephen van Rensselaer, the founder of the first civilian engineering college :“...instructing persons, who may choose to apply themselves, in the application of science to the common purposes of life"1. This means design. Many engineering curricula are either introducing or attempting to introduce design throughout the various courses in their curricula2, and those who do find it successful3. Design requires materials selection and the evaluation of alternative materials4. Thus, if design is going to be integrated throughout the engineering curricula, then students need to be taught how to select materials and evaluate potential alternatives earlier in their career. Over the last ten years a course, Applied Materials Science originally intended to be the second semester of an integrated chemistry-materials sequence5 has been developed for first year students. The course description is below.

Students will learn how to specify materials for a given performance criterion based on experimental data. Mechanical, chemical (corrosion) and electrical property- performance issues will be discussed, as will the fundamental scientific principles

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2002, American Society for Engineering Education

Main Menu

Palmer, M. (2002, June), Applied Materials Science A Fundamental Course For Engineers Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10993

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2002 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015