Gemstones, metals and the use of light and magnetism 1

Materials Science

November 23, 2007

Materials science is probably the most versatile scientific discipline, encompassing physics, chemistry and most engineering subjects (for example, mechanical, electrical, aeronautical, civil and so on). Therefore, it is imperative for any aspiring scientist or engineer to grasp its fundamentals.

Although there are several books that cater for students who are not pursuing a straight materials science degree, this text, as stated by author William F. Hosford, is aimed uncompromisingly at materials science/ engineering students or those who already have a grasp of the fundamentals of this discipline up to and beyond those covered in the first year of a first-degree course.

The text is predominantly user-friendly and chatty in its approach and perfectly complements other renowned "introduction to materials science" books. But students who are not familiar with the core fundamentals of the subject area will find this book intimidating.

It provides an impressively concise yet in-depth insight into physical metallurgy, including X-ray diffraction and crystallography, microstructure and phase transformations in metals, imperfections and dislocations in metals, thermodynamics and magnetic materials. Because the book concentrates impressively and almost exclusively on the field of physical metallurgy, the title Materials Science can be deemed to be a little misleading.

In such a diverse discipline as materials science it is virtually impossible to do justice to the whole subject area (especially at an intermediate or advanced level) without compromising certain areas. In the text there is little or no mention of the following topics: failure, corrosion and degradation of materials, composites, polymers and ceramics. It would therefore have been more appropriate if the book were titled along the lines of "Physical Metallurgy and Magnetic Materials - An Intermediate Text".

Despite this, the field of physical metallurgy is expertly dealt with and the book provides a succinct yet comprehensive coverage of this area with occasional references to ceramics and glasses.

Who is it for? Those on advanced undergraduate courses studying the principles of materials science.

Presentation: The author cleverly uses illustrations to simplify abstract and potentially complex theories. There are worked examples as appropriate in some chapters that facilitate comprehension, but it would probably have been more beneficial if more had been included (at least one per chapter to aid exam revision).

Would you recommend it? Acquisition of the text is highly recommended for aspiring or potential materials science postgraduates or undergraduates. Would I have bought this book had it been available while I was pursuing my degree in materials science? Definitely yes.

Ash Ahmed is senior lecturer in construction materials science, Leeds Metropolitan University.

Materials Science: An Intermediate Text. First Edition

Author - William F. Hosford
Publisher - Cambridge University Press
Pages - 252
Price - £45.00 and $68 (e-book)
ISBN - 9780521867054 and 11258336 (e-book)

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