Unit Name


Unit Code


Unit Duration

12 weeks


Graduate Diploma of Engineering (Mechanical) Duration: 1 year

Master of Engineering (Mechanical) Duration: 2 years

Year Level


Unit Creator/Reviewer

Vernon Benjamin





Credit Points


Grad Dip total course credit points = 24 (3 credits x 8 (units))

Masters total course credit points = 48

(12 credits (Thesis) + 3 credits x 12 (units))

Mode of Delivery

On-Campus or Online.

Unit Workload

Student workload including “contact hours” = 9 hours per week: Lecture - 1 hour

Tutorial Lecture - 1 hours

Practical / Lab - 1 hour (where applicable) Personal Study recommended - 6 hours

Unit Description and General Aims

Mechanical engineers must have a sound knowledge of materials; their properties, how to work them and maintain them. Materials in the 21st century are not only metals, but a large range of plastics, elastomers, ceramics but even types of wood.

The student will obtain sound knowledge of the metallurgy of both ferrous and non-ferrous metals as well as working knowledge of alloys and eutectic systems. The principles of heat treatment, forming, joining metals by various means, surface treatments to enhance required properties or to provide corrosion protection will be discussed.

The uses of various types of engineering plastics will be explained; students will recognise their advantages and limitations. Composite materials (GRPs, for instance) and their repair in practice will be explained. The student will appreciate how materials are converted into useful artefacts by using 3D methods.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this Unit, students are expected to be able to:

  1. Explain how materials have shaped societies throughout history.

  2. Know the origins of the most used materials and have an awareness of their social and environmental consequences

  3. Know the physics of materials, and metals, including atomic, crystalline and molecular structures.

  4. Relate the method for the further working of materials, including alloying, to achieve desired engineering properties.

  5. Analyse material testing and implement collaboration with others in undertaking tests and reaching conclusions.

  6. Apply material data sourcing and compare materials, by calculation where necessary. To decide, considering all factors especially engineering, social, environmental and economic, which materials best meet the particular requirements

    Professional Development

    Completing this unit may add to students professional development/competencies by:

    1. Fostering the personal and professional skills development of students to:

      1. Be adaptable and capable 21st century citizens, who can communicate effectively, work collaboratively, think critically and innovatively solve complex problems.

      2. Equipping individuals with an increased capacity for lifelong learning and professional development.

      3. Planning and organising self and others

      4. Instilling leadership qualities and a capacity for ethical and professional contextualization of knowledge

    2. Enhancing students’ investigatory and research capabilities through:

      1. Solving complex and open-ended engineering problems

      2. Accessing, evaluating and analysing information

      3. Processes and procedures, cause – effect investigations

    3. Developing the engineering application abilities of students through:

      1. Assignments

      2. Labs / practical / case studies / self-study (where applicable)

Engineers Australia

The Australian Engineering Stage 1 Competency Standards for the Professional Engineer, approved as of 2013. This table is referenced in the mapping of graduate attributes to learning outcomes and via the learning outcomes to student assessment.

Stage 1 Competencies and Elements of Competency


Knowledge and Skill Base


Comprehensive, theory based understanding of the underpinning natural and physical sciences and the engineering fundamentals applicable to the engineering discipline.


Conceptual understanding of the mathematics, numerical analysis, statistics, and computer and information sciences which underpin the engineering discipline.


In-depth understanding of specialist bodies of knowledge within the engineering discipline.


Discernment of knowledge development and research directions within the engineering discipline.


Knowledge of engineering design practice and contextual factors impacting the engineering discipline.


Understanding of the scope, principles, norms, accountabilities and bounds of sustainable engineering practice in the specific discipline.


Engineering Application Ability


Application of established engineering methods to complex engineering problem solving.


Fluent application of engineering techniques, tools and resources.


Application of systematic engineering synthesis and design processes.


Application of systematic approaches to the conduct and management of engineering projects.


Professional and Personal Attributes


Ethical conduct and professional accountability.


Effective oral and written communication in professional and lay domains.


Creative, innovative and pro-active demeanour.


Professional use and management of information.


Orderly management of self, and professional conduct.


Effective team membership and team leadership.

Graduate Attributes

Successfully completing this Unit will contribute to the recognition of attainment of the following graduate attributes aligned to the AQF Level 9 criteria, Engineers Australia Stage 1 Competency Standards for the Professional Engineer and the Washington Accord:

Graduate Attributes

(Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Professional and Personal Development)

EA Stage 1 Competencies

Professional Development

Learning Outcomes

A. Effective Communication

A1. Cognitive and technical skills to investigate, analyse and organise information and ideas and to communicate those ideas clearly and fluently, in both written and spoken forms appropriate to the audience.

2.2, 3.2


1, 2, 6

A2. Ability to professionally manage oneself, teams, information and projects and engage effectively and appropriately across a diverse range of international cultures in leadership, team and individual roles.

2.4, 3.2, 3.4,

3.5, 3.6


1, 2

B. Critical Judgement

B1. Ability to critically analyse and evaluate complex information and theoretical concepts.

1.1, 1.2, 1.3,



3, 5

B2. Ability to creatively, proactively and innovatively apply theoretical concepts, knowledge and approaches with a high level of accountability, in an engineering context.

1.5, 2.1, 3.3,


A, C


C. Design and Problem Solving Skills

C1. Cognitive skills to synthesise, evaluate and use information from a broad range of sources to effectively identify, formulate and solve engineering problems.

1.5, 2.1, 2.3

B, C

5, 6

C2. Technical and communication skills to design complex systems and solutions in line with developments in engineering professional practice.

2.2, 2.3

A, B


C3. Comprehension of the role of technology in society and identified issues in applying engineering technology ethics and impacts; economic; social; environmental and sustainability.

1.5, 1.6, 3.1


2, 6

D. Science and Engineering Fundamentals

D1. Breadth and depth of mathematics, science, computer technology and specialist engineering knowledge and understanding of future developments.

1.1, 1.2, 1.3,



1, 2, 4, 5, 6

D2. Knowledge of ethical standards in relation to professional engineering practice and research.

1.6, 3.1, 3.5


1, 2, 6

D3. Knowledge of international perspectives in engineering and ability to apply various national and International Standards.

1.5, 1.6, 2.4,


A, C

1, 5, 6

E. Information and Research Skills

E1. Application of advanced research and planning skills to engineering projects.

1.4, 2.4, 3.6

B, C

1, 6

E2. Knowledge of research principles and methods in an engineering context.

1.4, 1.6


1, 6

Unit Competency and Learning Outcome Map

This table details the mapping of the unit graduate attributes to the unit learning outcomes and the Australian Engineering Stage 1 Competency Standards for the Professional Engineer.


Graduate Attributes













Engineers Australia Stage 1 Competencies and Elements of Competency




























































Unit Learning Outcomes




















Student assessment

Assessment Type

(e.g. Assignment - 2000 word essay (specify topic) Examination (specify length and format))

When assessed (e.g. Week 5)

Weighting (% of total unit marks)

Learning Outcomes Assessed

Assessment 1

Type: Multi-choice test / Group work / Short answer questions / Role Play / Self-Assessment / Presentation

Example Topic: Financial, social and environmental considerations needed when selecting materials for a particular project; what calculations to perform. Ability to use physics to study materials. A sufficient knowledge of the origins, refining and properties of materials. How their in service performance is pre-tested

Week 5


1,2,3, 5

Assessment 2

Type: Report / Research / Paper / Case Study / Site Visit

/ Problem analysis / Project / Professional recommendation

Example: Report (Midterm Project)

[This will include a progress report; literature review, hypothesis, and methodology / conclusions]

Word length: 2000

Topic: How the properties of materials are enhanced by a variety of methods. How materials are joined.

Degradation of materials; how this is prevented. Consequences of incorrect materials’ selection

Week 9


4, 5

Assessment 3

Type: Report (Final Project)

[A complete report with sections on: methodology, implementation / evaluation, verification / validation, conclusion / challenges and recommendations / future work. If this is a new report, all headings from the midterm and the final reports must be included.]

Word length: 3000, excluding makers’ diagrams and layout drawings.

Topic: To select suitable materials for the various parts of a complex mechanical machine. (The type of machine and desired performance of its individual parts will be nominated by the course co-ordinator). Full references must be made to materials data sources; all calculations relevant to the materials selected will be shown. The student must also show that economic, environmental and ethical factors have been considered.

Final Week


3, 4, 5, 6

Practical Participation

Type: May be in the form of quizzes, class tests, practical assessments, remote labs, simulation software or case studies.




Assessment Type

(e.g. Assignment - 2000 word essay (specify topic) Examination (specify length and format))

When assessed (e.g. Week 5)

Weighting (% of total unit marks)

Learning Outcomes Assessed

Example: Useful artefacts using 3D methods


Attendance / Tutorial Participation

Example: Presentation, discussion, group work, exercises, self-assessment/reflection, case study analysis, application.




Prescribed and recommended readings

Required textbook

  1. W. Messler Jr., The essence of materials for engineers, Jones and Bartlett Learning, Sudbury MA, 2011.

    Reference Materials

    • Materials handbook, 10th edition, ASM, Metals Park OH, 1990

    • Martin Grayson (ed.), Encyclopaedia of composite materials and components, John Wiley and sons, NY, 1983

    • Other texts, peer-reviewed journals and websites as advised during lectures.

Unit Content:

One topic is delivered per contact week, with the exception of part-time 24-week units, where one topic is delivered every two weeks.

Topics 1 and 2

Materials in our world

  1. Materials to meet Society’s needs

  2. Atomic and molecular bonds

  3. Non-crystalline and crystalline structures

  4. Polymers

  5. Isotropy and anisotropy; smart materials

Topics 3, 4 and 5

Properties of Materials

  1. Mechanical properties Important to engineers

  2. Brief descriptions of the most commonly used materials including metals, plastics (including fibre reinforced), woods and ceramics.

  3. Types of loading: stress and strain, deformation, fracture mechanics. Calculating fatigue limits using Goodman’s theory.

  4. Thermal properties.

  5. Other properties including electrical ones

  6. Know, and be able to carry out, with the collaboration of others, testing of diverse materials.

Topics 6, 7 and 8

Further processing of materials

  1. Strengthening and transforming materials: toughening, grainsize control, cold working. Understanding alloying through phase diagrams. The iron-carbon phase in steel. Be aware, and know how to predict the workability of steel, by using carbon equivalent calculations.

  2. Heat treatment, ageing of metals

  3. Strain processing of polymers, the basics of polymers, their reinforcement and nanocomposites

  4. Common methods of joining similar and dissimilar materials

Topics 9, 10 and 11

Tomorrow’s world of materials

  1. All causes of degradation of materials, including corrosion and its causes. The cost of this to Society.

  2. Preventing wear

  3. Case studies of incorrect material selections. Calculate, where possible in each case, the correct initial selections.

  4. What the future holds for engineering materials. Creation of new materials for water and energy saving, pollution control, transportation, bionics and the like

Topic 12

Project and/or Unit Review

In the final week students will have an opportunity to review the contents covered so far. Opportunity will be provided for a review of student work and to clarify any outstanding issues. Instructors/facilitators may choose to cover a specialized topic if applicable to that cohort.

The Engineering Institute of Technology (EIT) is dedicated to ensuring our students receive a world-class education and gain skills they can immediately implement in the workplace upon graduation. Our staff members uphold our ethos of honesty and integrity, and we stand by our word because it is our bond. Our students are also expected to carry this attitude throughout their time at our institute, and into their careers.