What puts swing in your golf club?

Engineering Materials 1 - Engineering Materials 2
November 24, 2006

It is very easy to appreciate the performance of everyday devices such as televisions, washing machines, golf clubs, mobile phones, motor cars and so on based on what they do. But the role of the constituent materials in both high and low-tech applications is often invisible to the user and therefore frequently taken for granted. In reality, the availability of appropriate engineering materials is fundamental to all physical products, and it is the development and selection of materials that makes these applications possible in the first place. The answer to questions such as how big does it need to be? how heavy is it? how long will it last? how will it fail? when will it fail? -often within tight constraints of a particular design - lie firmly within the realm of materials engineering. As a result, materials engineering has played and will continue to play a fundamental role in the sustainable development of the population worldwide.

Engineering Materials 1 and 2 by Michael Ashby and David Jones are the classic undergraduate textbooks covering the structural properties, mechanical properties and applications of engineering materials for students on first and second-year university courses. The texts, which were first published in 1980 to support part one of the engineering tripos at Cambridge University, have been revised substantially over the years to extend their scope to support a wider range of university course structures.

Engineering Materials 1 is an introductory text to the subject, written specifically for first-year engineers who do not necessarily have a significant background knowledge of chemistry. It introduces students to the basic structural and mechanical properties of materials relevant to engineering applications by focusing on engineering design. This is achieved initially by classifying materials broadly by type (polymer, metal, ceramic or composite) and then by introducing the concept of selecting a specific material for a particular application according to type, property and cost. Subsequent chapters address specific properties of materials that are fundamental to engineering applications in more detail, including elasticity, plasticity, strength under applied load, ductility, toughness, creep deformation and corrosion. Related physical concepts important to predicting the properties and performance of materials properties, such as primary and secondary bonding in polymers, primary bonding in metals and ceramics, failure by fast fracture and fatigue, and abrasion and wear, are introduced at appropriate points in the text to tie-together the various engineering properties of materials.

Useful data for a range of materials, such as density, Young's modulus, yield stress, coefficients of diffusion and oxide formation energies, are presented throughout the text in tabulated form for purposes of illustration and for future reference. A context for the different engineering properties of materials is provided by a series of helpful case studies on a chapter-by-chapter basis, such as the design of pressure vessels, the protection of turbine blades and the selection of materials for skis. Each chapter concludes with exercises for the student, supported by a fully downloadable solutions manual for instructors.

Engineering Materials 2 is a higher level text for students with an existing understanding of the basic properties of materials. It uses the building blocks of Engineering Materials 1 to extend the concepts of material engineering into understanding the microstructure of materials, how they may be processed effectively and at optimum cost and how materials properties and processing influence design. In contrast to Engineering Materials 1 , Engineering Materials 2 is organised throughout by materials type (metals, ceramics and glasses, and polymers and composites). This enables the student to focus on the specific properties of each material in turn and to gain a thorough understanding of the advantages and limitations of a wide range of processes (such as engineering the microstructure of steel by considering the iron/iron-carbide phase diagram) and applications (such as the selection of composites for low-weight, high stiffness components).

Put simply, Engineering Materials 2 bridges the gap between understanding and the application of materials to practical engineering problems. Again, the text is supported effectively by student exercises and informative case studies including the choice of material for soft solder, the welding of steels, the strength of cement and concrete, improving polymer stiffness - and a series of studies on understanding historical engineering disasters.

Engineering Materials 2 concludes with a particularly useful appendix on "Teach yourself phase diagrams", which is an interactive, problem-based introduction to the fundamental concepts of phase formation and transformation in materials. These concepts provide a lesson for life and are presented with impressive clarity.

A series of online tutorials in materials science have been developed to accompany Engineering Materials 1 and 2 based on earlier versions of the texts. These provide a helpful supplement to the texts and are particularly useful to refresh the minds of students who have been away from the field for a time.

These books are essential reading for all undergraduate engineers and materials scientists. They provide the cornerstone of concepts fundamental to materials engineering and relate critically to other key areas within the discipline, such as mechanical engineering, structural engineering and design. Engineering Materials 1 and 2 have stood the test of time, and these latest revisions bring them right up to date.

David Cardwell is professor of superconducting engineering, Cambridge University.

Engineering Materials 1: An Introduction to Properties, Applications and Design. Third Edition

Author - Michael Ashby and David Jones
Publisher - Elsevier
Pages - 448
Price - £24.99
ISBN - 0 7506 6380 4

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