The successful development of engineering applications relies fundamentally on the availability of materials. The selection of a suitable material for a particular application or device is often a complex process and requires a comprehensive understanding of the application itself, the range of materials available and their properties under a variety of external influences, such as temperature, pressure and chemical environment. There are literally thousands of materials available to the modern engineer, so an awareness of their properties, methods of manufacture and limitations is key to their deployment.
Engineers tend to classify materials by their properties, such as elastic and inelastic, their geometry, such as micro or nano, their area of application, such as bio, electrical or optical, or their more general microscopic make-up, such as polymer, metal or ceramic. Today's engineers, therefore, need to understand the potential of the wide range of materials available for practical applications at a relatively advanced level if they are to make informed decisions on materials selection.
James Newell's Essentials of Modern Materials Science and Engineering is a second-level text, written in an American style and suitable for engineering and physics undergraduates on second- or third-year courses at US universities and on first- or second-year courses at UK universities. It describes the fundamental elements of materials science that relate directly to the selection of materials for engineering applications, admirably drawing the reader's attention specifically to ethical, environmental and financial issues.
Encouragingly, the book is based directly on Newell's teaching experience in the field. It is supported closely by a companion website, which works well, and is a good example of the movement away from paper-only teaching media.
The text itself begins with a general introduction that provides a context for materials from an engineering perspective, including the fundamental influence of bonding on materials properties, followed by a succinct chapter on structure that takes the student from the atomic packing of atoms through to the movement of dislocations and the plastic deformation of metals. Practical techniques for measuring the basic mechanical properties of materials are presented in chapter three, including creep and fracture toughness. Chapters four, five and six describe materials within the traditional categories of metals, polymers and ceramics, including emerging and topical carbon-based materials such as nanotubes. Composites are covered in chapter seven; electronic and optical materials are the subjects of chapter eight, and chapter nine introduces the student to the newly established engineering fields of biomaterials and biological materials.
The book includes an appendix that lists the major producers of metals and polymers, including their website addresses, and concludes with the usual glossary of materials terms that appears inevitably in texts on materials engineering. A series of animations on the companion website bring to life some of the more complex concepts taught on the course.
Who is it for? It should appeal, in particular, to lecturers new to the subject and to undergraduate engineering and physics students who have had limited exposure to the subject at an introductory level.
Presentation: Good, with a useful companion website.
Would you recommend it? Yes. An excellent teaching and learning resource on an introductory to intermediate level for selected aspects of materials engineering.
Essentials of Modern Materials Science and Engineering
Author: James Newell
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons