Module code: ENG1078

Module Overview

The Materials element of this module provides an introduction to a range of common material properties and outlines major classes of material.

The Sustainability element provides an introduction to the fundamentals of sustainability and its engineering applications.


Module provider

Chemistry and Chemical Engineering

Module Leader

CAI Qiong (Chst Chm Eng)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 4

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 87

Lecture Hours: 33

Tutorial Hours: 10

Guided Learning: 20

Captured Content: 33

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

1. Materials

1.1 Generic topics in mechanical properties of materials

Introduction to topics to be covered and some definitions. [1L]

Stress-strain behaviour: Stress and strain – definitions. Elastic, plastic and visco-elastic behaviour. Stress/strain behaviour for metals, ceramics, elastomers and plastics. Property data (modulus, yield strength, proof strength, tensile strength, ductility, toughness). Structure-property relationships. [2L]

Materials selection in simple mechanical design: Specific stiffness and specific strength. Performance indices. Case studies – materials selection for offshore structures, aerospace structures, bicycles and springs. [3L]

Overview of fracture and durability (creep, fatigue) of materials. Definition of terms. Fracture toughness as a material property. S-N data in fatigue, strain-time response under creep conditions. [2L]

Fracture mechanics: Behaviour of materials containing stress concentrations and cracks. Stress intensity factor and fracture toughness. Energy release rate/toughness. [1L]

Fatigue: Predicting life of uncracked components (Basquin and Miner relationships). Modelling fatigue crack growth – Paris relation and its application. [1L]

Visco-elasticity and Creep: Maxwell and Voigt models for polymers. Dependence of creep rate for metals on stress and temperature. Microstructural aspects of creep failure. [1L]

Oxidation: Linear and parabolic rate laws. Mechanisms of oxidation (diffusion). Effect of temperature. [1L]

Wet corrosion: Simple chemical cells. Standard electrode potential and galvanic series. Differential aeration. Controlling corrosion in engineering structures. [1L]

1.2 Aspects of particular classes of materials

(a) Metals – Overview of properties and processing [3L]

(b) Polymers – principal classes, glass transition temperature, typical properties, processing and cost [2L]

(c) Ceramics – engineering and traditional ceramics (including concrete); processing and properties (strength, “static fatigue”, thermal shock [1L]

(d) Composites [1L]

(e) Concrete [1L]

1.3 Revision [2L]

2. Sustainability

2.1 Introducing Sustainability, why engineers need to be aware of sustainability, meaning of sustainability, history, problems of putting sustainability into practice

2.2 Material criticality

2.3 Life cycle assessment

2.4 Stakeholder Analysis and  Engagement within the Chemical Industry

2.5 Energy systems and sustainability, non-renewable and renewable energy, case studies

2.6 Case study (University of Surrey)

2.7 Industrial case study

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate the full range of learning outcomes through exam, tutorials problems solving, Group project for sustainability part to test both fundamental understanding as well as integrative understanding in solving practical questions.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

·         Coursework (Materials) – 10%, 2 hours, (LO1)

·         Project (Sustainability) – 20%, 18 hours, (LO2, LO3)

·         Examination – 70%, 2 hours, assessment of both Materials and Sustainability elements, (LO1, LO2)

Formative assessment



Weekly verbal feedback will be given during tutorial classes.

Written and verbal feedback on Materials Coursework

Written and verbal feedback on Sustainability Project

Module aims

  • Define and discuss the main mechanical properties and durability of engineering materials and to reveal the salient features of the main classes of materials in the context of these properties. In addition, factors relating to materials selection and design will be addressed. 
  • Introduce students to the environmental, economic and social constraints that need to be considered by engineers and to put engineering in its global context and thereby to provide students with the conceptual understanding they will need to pursue professional careers.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Demonstrate a qualitative and quantitative understanding of the mechanical behaviour of metals, ceramics, polymers, and composites, and the parameters which govern the use of these materials in engineering applications. KCP
002 Demonstrate knowledge of the interactions and integration management between engineering (process) systems, environmental and bio-systems and socio-economic enterprise systems in sustainable development KCP
003 Have gained experience in group working to deliver a project. CPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

For the Materials element

  • Use a combination of lectures and tutorials to develop an understanding of mechanical behaviour of a wide range of materials including metals, ceramics, polymers and composites

  • Give emphasis to the relation between materials microstructure, mechanical properties and processing, and introduce the parameters which govern the use of these materials in engineering applications

  • Enable students to select suitable materials for particular engineering applications

For the Sustainability element

  • Use a combination of lectures, case studies and group projects to develop an understanding of sustainability and the analytical skills to assess the sustainability of systems

  • Use case studies and projects to develop problem solving skills for practical engineering cases

  • Encourage team working by using group projects

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • Lectures                                

  • Tutorial/Problem Classes      

  • Group project                        

  • Independent learning           


Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: ENG1078

Other information

Sustainability: Throughout the module students develop an understanding on broad aspects relevant to sustainability for using a wide range of engineering materials. Students learn to develop the integrated process for materials selection by considering materials properties, cost, operating environment, and different failure modes. The sustainability case studies and group projects help students develop a good understanding of sustainability. 

Digital capabilities: Students are introduced to analysis and solving mathematical equations as part of the tutorial sessions. Students are also encouraged to utilize collaborative tools (Zoom, Teams, WhatsApp, etc) to communicate and meet with each other, as part of the group coursework submission, practices which are increasingly important to the modern industry.

Employability: The module enables students to develop a solid understanding on engineering materials and sustainability considerations that are relevant for a wide variety of industries. The tutorial sessions and the assessments undertaken are designed specifically to enable students to create general problem-solving skills and critical thinking on materials selection for a wide range of industrial applications, as well as analytical skills to assess the sustainability of systems.

Global and cultural capabilities: The module is taught in an interactive way, where students are encouraged to engage with their peers and learn from diverse perspectives and practices. The Sustainability group project element in this module further encourages teamwork, as students must solve a set of real-world industrial problems as part of a team.

Resourcefulness and resilience: Once the students have developed a core knowledge of engineering materials and sustainability, additional resources provided on Surrey Learn will give students the opportunity to reflect upon their understanding and expand their knowledge and skills by recognizing how the concepts developed in this module can find applications in industrial context and R&D.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Chemical and Petroleum Engineering BEng (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Chemical Engineering BEng (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Chemical and Petroleum Engineering MEng 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Chemical Engineering MEng 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2025/6 academic year.