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Teaching The Molecular Simulation Of Materials To A Diverse Cross Section Of Engineering Graduate Students

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Modeling in Materials Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.1105.1 - 7.1105.9



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Session ___

Teaching the molecular simulation of materials to a diverse cross-section of engineering graduate students

Michael L. Falk

Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2136

Over the past two years the Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) department at the University of Michigan has offered a graduate level class in molecular simulation of materials. This class has attracted enrollment both from within MSE and from other engineering disciplines as well as Physics and Applied Physics. The curriculum for this class covers the modeling of molecular interactions, minimization techniques, Monte Carlo calculations and molecular dynamics simulation. The primary challenge of this class has been to teach an understanding of these methods to students with diverse backgrounds in computer programming, mechanics and statistical physics. In order to meet this challenge the class reviews fundamental concepts in each of these subject areas. Computer programming assignments play a key role in developing student understanding, but programming assignments can easily overwhelm students unfamiliar with programming. Object oriented programming techniques using C++ mitigate the complications involved in programming assignments. Providing sample codes and pre-defined classes hide the unimportant programming details while allowing access to high-level algorithm design.

Introduction Over the past two decades Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) has changed significantly due to the integration of computation into nearly every aspect of materials manufacturing, development and basic research. For example, computer simulation is increasingly used to predict cooling histories and resulting microstructures in metal alloys, to unravel the details of molecular conformations that determine the function of biological molecules, and to understand the basic science behind a variety of electronic materials processes. However, the curriculum in MSE has not kept pace with these advances in the field.

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

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Falk, M. (2002, June), Teaching The Molecular Simulation Of Materials To A Diverse Cross Section Of Engineering Graduate Students Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--11074

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