Educators teaching introductory materials science courses know the drill: we have large classes filled with students from diverse backgrounds, with divergent aspirations and interests. And as with any type of compulsory learning experience, we look out onto a sea of people – some of whom want to be there; some don’t – and are tasked with finding how best to convey an understanding of a vast range of scale and concepts. Arguably, at this introductory level, the most fundamental of which is the relationship between Process, Structure, and Properties – otherwise known as the materials paradigm.
Experience suggests that learning is better achieved through active discovery for oneself than by passive listening. With this aim, Granta has developed a new set of resources that allow students to explore the relationships between Processing, Structure, and Properties. The package includes data for the elements, data for structural, functional and biological materials, for processes for shaping, joining and finishing, tools to aid understanding of phase diagrams and resources that focus explicitly on the process-structure-property relation. This package is called Materials Science and Engineering (MS&E), and is available within the CES EduPack 2018 framework. It stimulates discovery and poses questions: why does this property change in that way when the material is processed? Why is this other property unchanged? The interactive Phase Diagram Tool enlivens what can be a dry topic and makes clear the tricky concept of the Lever Rule.
Developed over three years with the help of collaborators around the world, the MS&E Package includes a set of 14 micro-projects that stimulate discovery. It is visual, and it’s backed-up with downloadable “science notes”, and teaching and learning resources. The package is designed to engage student interest and to support the teaching of MS&E both when taking a science-led, “bottom-up”, approach as in textbooks by Callister, Shackleford and others, or a design-led, “topdown” approach typified by the more engineering-oriented texts of Dieter and Ashby et al. Whichever approach you take to University-level introductory teaching about materials, the package will support you in aiding students to become familiar with materials concepts and terminology, and embracing a clear view of the materials paradigm.
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