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Materials Science is increasingly recognised as a key discipline in the modern world, spanning both physical and biological sciences and also involving various branches of engineering. Recent technological developments in areas as diverse as medicine, sports goods, forensics, energy generation, electronics, communications and transport have all been largely dependent on improvements in the performance limits of constituent materials, rather than on advances related to physical principles or engineering design. People with an understanding of how the properties and performance of a material are determined, and might be improved, are therefore in great demand throughout the world, across a wide range of organisations. This understanding cannot be obtained solely by studying courses such as Physics, Chemistry or Engineering, since it relies on familiarity with various subtleties and interplays in the processing-microstructure-property relationships. The Materials Science course covers these relationships for all of the main types of material. It builds on the basics provided in the IA and IB Materials courses, although students who have missed one or both of them might nevertheless be able to take it. There are around 20 lecture courses in addition to practical and project work. The course leads to the BA degree.

  • Informal prospective study enquiries may be made to the Director of Undergraduate Teaching (DUT@msm.cam.ac.uk).  
  • Information for current students is found on the relevant Moodle course.

Lecture courses

  • C1: Introduction to Materials Modelling

    Prof J A Elliott

    This course aims to give a basic introduction to some of the main techniques for physical and numerical modelling of materials properties, suitable for those with a physical sciences background but no prior programming experience. Using a combination...Read more

  • C2: Electrochemical Materials

    Dr R C Evans

    Electrochemical materials play critical roles in diverse fields of healthcare, energy, environmental protection, security and consumer electronics. They are typically used in electrochemical devices that either generate electrical energy from a...Read more

  • C3: Electronic and Optical Properties of Materials

    Prof P A Midgley

    This module is designed to cover the basic concepts behind the electronic and optical properties of materials, from the classical description used for metals and insulators, to the quantum mechanical approach used for semiconductors. Examples of...Read more

  • C4: Applications of Tensors

    Prof T W Clyne

    This course builds on the IB "Mechanics of Materials and Structures", which provided an introduction to tensor manipulation, mainly in the context of stresses and strains (both of which are second rank tensors). The present course is a short one (3...Read more

  • C5: Magnetic Properties of Materials

    Dr J J W A Robinson

    Magnetism has been known and applied since ancient times, and it lies at the heart of modern technology, enabling the generation, control and transmission of electricity, data storage in computing, and countless other applications.

    A detailed...Read more

  • C6: Crystallography

    Prof Sir H K D Bhadeshia

    The aim of this course on crystallography is to take students from an elementary understanding of crystals, to a stage where they become confident about single and polycrystals, the crystallography of phase transformations, characterisation methods,...Read more

  • C7: Solidification Processing

    Prof T W Clyne

    Solidification processing is of considerable industrial importance. It is extensively used for metals, and also for polymers and semiconductors. In most cases, the rate at which solidification occurs is controlled by the heat flow. However, there are...Read more

  • C8: Chemical Stability and High Temperature Oxidation

    Dr  H J Stone

    High temperature corrosion limits component life in a range of important industrial and commercial applications from the petrochemical industry to energy production and transport. In this course, the thermodynamics and principles behind high...Read more

  • C9: Alloys

    Dr E R Wallach

    The course deals with the design and use of metallic alloys with a focus on the development and control of microstructure, the relationships between microstructure and properties, and applications. The major metallic alloy systems are covered. In...Read more

  • C10: Polymers

    R P Thompson

    The course covers the physical properties of polymers, including simple models for predicting behaviour and their origin in terms of molecular structure. The relationship between chemical structure, chain conformation, crystal structure and...Read more

  • C11: Thermal Analysis

    Dr K Christofidou

    Thermal Analysis describes a set of techniques which are widely used in both academic research and industry. These techniques are generally straightforward to use and are able to characterise a wide range of materials and materials properties.

    ...Read more

  • C12: Plasticity and Deformation Processing

    Dr K M Knowles

    In this course, attention will be focused on a description and analysis of yield criteria for the plastic flow of materials, together with simplified analyses of plastic deformation in the context of materials deformation, particularly with regards to...Read more

  • C13: Ceramics

    Prof W J Clegg

    Ceramics are the group of materials most widely used by man. They include the cheapest materials, such as brick, concrete and glass, and the most expensive, such as diamond. Unlike metals, they have an extraordinary range and combination of properties...Read more

  • C14: X-ray and Neutron Diffraction

    Dr N G Jones

    In this course, we will look at the characteristics of X-ray and neutron radiation, the ways in which they can be produced and how they interact with crystalline materials. We shall then explore the theory of diffraction and consider the factors that...Read more

  • C15: Fracture and Fatigue

    Prof C M F Rae

    This course examines the use of Fracture Mechanics in the prediction of mechanical failure. We explore the range of macroscopic static failure modes and extend these principles to fatigue failure.

    The first part of the course (Fracture)...Read more

  • C16: Composite Materials

    Prof T W Clyne

    This course covers various aspects of the performance and usage of composite materials. It is primarily oriented towards "conventional" composites, which comprise long fibres (usually of glass or carbon) in a polymeric matrix. However, there is some...Read more

  • C17: Heat and Mass Transfer

    Prof R V Kumar

    In this course, concepts concerning the rate of heat transfer and the mode by which such a transfer takes place will be discussed. Both analytical and empirical equations and models governing heat transfer will be evaluated and applied to selected...Read more

  • C18: Biomedical Materials

    Prof S M Best

    In this course, we will begin by considering the various categories of medical device and how their function influences the testing that is relevant to their application. We then move on to considering the biological tissues that we might wish to...Read more

  • C19: Electron Microscopy

    Dr C Ducati

    The purpose of this course is to introduce the student to electron microscopy imaging and analytical techniques used in Materials Science.

    We will describe electron optics and detectors used in scanning and transmission electron microscopes,...Read more

  • C20: Atomic Force Microscopy

    Prof R A Oliver

    Atomic force microscopy (AFM) is one of the key techniques of nanoscience and nanotechnology, providing relatively straightforward access to nanoscale surface structure for a vast range of materials: both conductors and insulators, soft and hard...Read more

Lecture courses

  • E1: Mathematical Methods

    Dr A Di Bernardo

    The aim of this course is revision of mathematics. The course booklet contains a comprehensive handout for each Class, which you will be expected to study in advance of each session. It is assumed that you have a working knowledge of trigonometry, and...Read more