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Materials Science and Engineering: Where Would the World Be Without Them?

Course registration will be available for this course once it is scheduled.

Course Description

Virtually every segment of our everyday lives - be it transportation, housing, clothing, communications, recreation, sports, and so on - is influenced by materials in one way or another. In our contemporary era, sophisticated electronic devices, such as laptops and cell phones, rely on components that are made of semiconducting materials. Automobiles would not have been possible without the availability of inexpensive steel or other comparable substitutes. This course will introduce students to the amazing potential and challenges associated with everyday materials science and engineering.

When designing a product, the most fundamental question that comes to mind is: "In order to meet its application needs, what properties should my product posses?" In this class, we will present to you the fundamental concepts that are involved in answering such questions, along with some of the awesome applications of Materials Science in day-to-day life. We will explore questions like "What makes different metals have different properties?", "Why are steel and concrete so famously used in bridge construction?", "How are bike helmets, ceramic disc brakes, and glass made?" and many more. The class will be centered around a group design project in which students will perform mechanical testing of three samples: a metal, a Polymer, and a ceramic. Based on experimental results, groups will determine which of these materials should be used in making kayaks, bridges, hammers, glassware, automobile bodies, bike frames, etc. We will also take a tour of the mechanical testing facility at Brown, where you will observe a rapid-prototyping machine and/or 3D printing machine in action.

The course will provide students with an understanding of some of the fundamental concepts of material science and engineering, and an appreciation of the ways a material scientist approaches a design problem. With the help of the hands-on activities and the group project, students will also gain an appreciation of the critical thinking and problem solving skills that the field of Materials Science and Engineering demands.

Prerequisites: None

*Please note: This course has a supplemental fee of $50