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Materials Science Laboratory 1

Semester 2

This course consists of hands-on laboratory exercises that explore topic areas from material science. The theoretical concepts of material science are examined experimentally and used to analyze the mechanical, electrical, thermal, optical and acoustical properties of materials. These concepts are used to identify and explain the structural characteristics of materials, including its crystalline structures and diffusion mechanisms. A critical review of a selected journal paper is an integral part of the course. 


The course will consist of laboratory exercises covering principles of material science and an exercise on the review of a scientific journal article. The topics covered in the laboratory exercises are:

Determination of the mechanical properties of materials:

  • stress, strain and shear measurements;
  • sound propagation through various materials (acoustic properties);
  • deformation and hardness measurements and comparison to standards;
  • identifying fractures, fatigues and creeps;
  • measuring toughness and impact strength

Investigation of crystalline structures:

  • constructing lattice structures;
  • lattice measurements and Miller indices;
  • examining Bragg’s law of diffractions and Fick’s law of diffusion

Measurement of thermal and electrical properties:

  • Investigating conduction of electricity and heat;
  • electron-phonon interactions;
  • properties of insulators



The course assessment will be conducted as follows:

Nine laboratory reports of equal weighting                          36%
One paper review (10%) and one oral presentation (14%)  24%
Final Examination
One 3-hour final practical examination                                 40%

Students will be expected to satisfy the examiners in both components.

Learning Objectives: 

By the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • determine and compare the mechanical properties of materials
  • identify microstructural features and construct lattice structures
  • identify crystal structure by analyzing the waves reflected from its lattice plane
  • determine the electrical and thermal conductivity and resistivity of materials
  • perform appropriate statistical analysis on experimental data
  • critically review a scientific journal article
  • make effective oral presentations
  • write technical laboratory reports
PHYS1411 and PHYS1412 and PHYS1421 and PHYS1422


  • Laboratory manual for PHYS 2500
  • Callister, W. D. and Rethwisch D. G. (2009), Materials Science and Engineering: An Introduction, 8th Edition, Wiley. ISBN-10: 0470419970; ISBN-13: 978-0470419977

Online Resources:

Course Code: 
3 Credits
Level 2
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