MSE 45 – Properties of Materials

Course Number:  MSE 45
Course Units: 3, 3 hours of lecture per week + 6 laboratories (3 hours each)

INSTRUCTORS: Professors Thomas M. Devine, Ronald Gronsky, John W. Morris, Jr.  and Ramamoorthy Ramesh.

TEXTBOOK: The Structure and Properties of Materials, J.W. Morris, Jr., McGraw Hill, 2005.

CATALOG DESCRIPTION: Application of basic principles of physics and chemistry to the engineering properties of materials. Special emphasis devoted to relation between microstructure and the mechanical properties of metals, concrete, polymers, and ceramics, and the electrical properties of semiconducting materials.




  • Understand the meaning of stress and strain in describing the mechanical response of engineering materials
  • Understand how to perform, and the role of, the uniaxial tensile test in establishing critical engineering performance metrics such as Young’s modulus, yield strength, ultimate tensile strength, fracture strength, ductility, and elongation to failure
  • Understand the meaning of, and distinctions among, hardness, strength, and toughness, and their significance for engineering performance
  • Understand the atomic nature of plasticity in engineering solids, the classification of dislocations (edge vs. screw), and the role of dislocations in deformation
  • Understand the effect of chemical bonding on the variations in mechanical strength of engineering materials, including the reasons why ceramics are strong in compression but not in shear, and why polymers may show viscoelastic behavior.
  • Understand the description of the crystal structure of matter in terms of a constituent Bravais lattice and a basis or motif
  • Understand Miller index notation and Miller-Bravais indices for specification of lattice geometry
  • Understand the role of diffraction in determining crystal structure
  • Understand how to perform optical microscopy for assessment of the microstructure of polycrystalline materials
  • Understand the polycrystalline nature of engineering materials and the effects of grain boundaries on engineering properties
  • Understand the meaning of equilibrium phase diagrams, tie-line constructions, and the lever rule, and their utilization in predicting the microstructure of multicomponent engineering alloys when subjected to elevated temperatures
  • Understand the role of kinetics in generating useful microstructures for engineering applications, including the generation of, and tempering of, martensite in ferous alloys, precipitation hardening in alloys, the thermal processing of glass ceramics, and dopant redistribution in semiconductors
  • Understand the temperature-dependent resistivity response of conductors, semiconductors, and insulators and why they are different
  • Understand ferroelectric and ferromagnetic behavior of materials in terms of domain structures
  • Understand the implications of iso-strain vs iso-stress loading configurations for fiber-reinforced composites and how to optimize microstructure for best performance
  • Understand the optical properties of transparency, translucency and opacity, and the functioning of the graded-refractive index optical fibers
  • Understand the role of crystalline defects (point, line and planar) in diffusion
  • Understand the mechanisms of oxidation, the development of passivation, and the limitations of protective oxides in metallic alloys systems
  • Understand the mechanisms of galvanic corrosion and the methods for its prevention in engineering structures made of dissimilar metals



  • Introduction to the mechanical properties of engineering materials
  • Materials at the Atomic Level
  • Crystalline Imperfections
  • Equilibrium phase diagrams
  • Thermal processing of materials
  • Structural Materials
  • Thermal and Optical Properties of MaterialsIntroduction to Polymeric Materials;
  • Composites
  • Electrical Properties of Materials
  • Environmental Degradation of Materials