Have you ever wondered why ceramics are hard and brittle while metals tend to be ductile? Why some materials conduct heat or electricity while others are insulators? Why adding just a small amount of carbon to iron results in an alloy that is so much stronger than the base metal? In this course, you will learn how a material’s properties are determined by the microstructure of the material, which is in turn determined by composition and the processing that the material has undergone.
This is the second of three Coursera courses that mirror the Introduction to Materials Science class that is taken by most engineering undergrads at Georgia Tech. The aim of the course is to help students better understand the engineering materials that are used in the world around them. This first section covers the fundamentals of materials science including atomic structure and bonding, crystal structure, atomic and microscopic defects, and noncrystalline materials such as glasses, rubbers, and polymers.
Phase Diagrams and Phase Equilibria
This course picks up with an overview of basic thermodynamics and kinetics as they pertain to the processing of crystalline materials. The first module deals with phase diagrams - charts that tell us how a material will behave given a certain set of variables such as temperature, pressure, and composition. You will learn how to interpret common and complex phase diagrams and how to extract useful information from them.
Kinetics of Structural Transformations
If thermodynamics, which we covered in the previous module, tells us how a material wants to change, then kinetics tells us how and how quickly that transformation occurs. This module starts by explaining the driving force for phase transformations. We will cover the nucleation and growth of precipitates, solidification, and sintering. Finally, there are a number of lessons which apply all that has been covered in the course to understanding carbon steels.