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Introducing Materials And Processes To First And Second Year Students

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Introductory Materials Science Course

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

13.802.1 - 13.802.10



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Paper Authors

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Charles Bream Granta Design, Ltd.

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Mike Ashby University of Cambridge

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

Introducing Materials and Processes to First and Second Year Students Abstract Introducing materials and processes to first and second year students is a challenge. At this level, students study a wide range of subjects that all compete for their time and attention. To stand out in this environment, a course must both stimulate the students’ inherent interest in the subject and provide them with the tools and resources that will encourage them to develop this interest further.

This paper presents the methodology, tools and resources of CES EduPack. This teaching aid provides a simple, highly visual and engaging framework that enables students to build a perspective, understanding and an enthusiasm for the subject of materials and processes. The paper also illustrates how CES EduPack’s tools can be used to complement a range of teaching and learning styles, including: design-led, science-led, and project-based techniques.

Approaches to materials teaching There are two main approaches to teaching materials: the science and the design-led approaches. In many circumstances (for example, when teaching students of Physics or of Materials Science) it makes sense to use the traditional science-led approach. This starts with the structure of the atom, building upwards through the physics of bonding, crystal structure and band theory, the thermodynamics and kinetics of alloys, finally arriving at material properties (Figure 1 - left to right) and their applications.

Figure 1. Two alternative approaches (much simplified) to the teaching of materials.

Students of Engineering can find this too remote from the goals that motivate them. Engineers make and manage things. They are interested in the uses and performance of materials. To select materials successfully, they need a perspective of the world of materials plus some understanding of the origin of materials’ properties and the ways in which they can be manipulated and selected to meet the requirements of a design. To enable this they need information about materials and tools to enable effective use of this information in their studies.

At the University of Cambridge, working with Granta Design, and colleagues at many other universities, we have developed a design-led approach to teaching engineering students about materials and processes. This approach starts with an introduction to design methods and the ways in which information about materials enters the design process.

Bream, C., & Ashby, M. (2008, June), Introducing Materials And Processes To First And Second Year Students Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3948

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