Materials selection and failure analysis

Metals and alloys

Materials selection and failure analysis is a 1st semester course held at University of Leeds, England.


1. semester - University of Leeds, UK


Dr. R. F. Cochrane

Course Points (ECTS)


Contact Information

University of Leeds, UK

Course Overview

Module objectives

The objective of this module are: to apply a knowledge gained of the processing-microstructure-property relationship to the design of alloys for structural applications; to illustrate the state-of-the-art in some conventional structural alloys and show how research has, and continues, to inform the design of these materials; to develop the student's understanding of this process and provide an opportunity for them to carry this out in designing an alloy to a properties brief.

Knowledge outcome

On completion of this module students should:

  • understand the principles of physical metallurgy and their application to the design of alloys for engineering applications;
  • understand the historical development of metals and alloys to satisfy the needs of different industrial sectors;
  • understand the traditional limitations on the properties which may be obtained in particular metals and how metallurgists may seek to circumvent these;
  • be able to recognise and interpret microstructures in a range of metals and alloys and account for their development;
  • understand the exploitation of the process-microstructure-properties relationship in the design of structural alloys with an appropriate combination of properties;
  • understand the basis of the designation of engineering alloys in different systems and the equivalence between these;
  • be able to select an appropriate alloy and processing route for a particular application;
  • be able to design an alloy, and attendant processing route, to satisfy a design brief consisting of a set of property requirements;
  • be aware of current research developments in metallurgy in the conventional structural metals sector and its potential impact on design and technology;
  • survey and critically evaluate scientific literature.

Outline syllabus

  • Foundations of physical metallurgy: phase diagrams and phase equilibria; metallic crystal structures and microstructure; mechanical properties, deformation and strengthening mechanisms.
  • Ferrous metallurgy: carbon and nitrogen in steel - solubility, ordering, carbide precipitation; strain ageing; microalloyed steels; grain size, shape, stability; control of grain size; application of ferrous metallurgy principles to alloy design; inclusions in steel; case studies in carbon steels; low alloy steels; maraging; ausformed and TRIP steels; stainless steels; welding and weldability; cast irons.
  • Non-ferrous metallurgy: the light metals - alloy designation and physical metallurgy of cast and wrought aluminium, magnesium and titanium alloys; mechanical properties, corrosion behaviour, fabrication, applications; superalloys-classification, physical metallurgy, mechanical properties, processing, application; copper alloys-characteristics of phase diagrams, physical metallurgy, properties of pure Cu, brasses, bronzes and monels; precious metals-gold, silver, platinum, palladium; lead; tin and zinc alloys.

Monitoring of student progress:

  • On-line tests and in class tests
  • Project work
  • 1 written examination