Materials In Today's World



In today’s society, virtually every segment of our everyday life is influenced by the limitations, availability, and economic considerations of the materials used. In this lesson you will be introduced to the interconnectivity of processing, structure, properties, and performance of the design, production, and utilization of materials; the role of materials scientists and engineers; and the three important criteria in materials selection. You will also be introduced to the classical classification of materials: metals, ceramics, and polymers, as well as, composites and the advanced materials classification used in modern high-tech applications.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this lesson, you should be able to:

  • Describe, with specific examples, the role of materials in human development during the Stone Age.
  • List the six different property classifications of materials that determine their applicability.
  • Cite the four components that are involved in the design, production, and utilization of materials, and briefly describe the interrelationships between these components.
  • Describe the way in which scientists and engineers differ in their utilization of materials.
  • Cite three criteria that are important in the materials selection process.
  • List the three primary classifications of solid materials, and then cite the distinctive features of each.
  • Briefly define smart material/system.
  • Note the four types of advanced materials and, for each, its distinctive feature(s).
  • Judge which material is most likely to be a promising candidate for utilization when given the primary or advanced material classifications of a list of candidate materials and one design selection criteria.

Lesson Roadmap

Lesson 1 will take us 1 week to complete. Please refer to Canvas for specific due dates.

Lesson Roadmap
To Read

Read pp 7-24 (Ch. 1) in Introduction to Materials ebook

Reading on course website for Lesson 1

To Watch Secrets of the Terracotta Warriors
To Do Lesson 1 Quiz


If you have general questions about the course content or structure, please post them to the General Questions and Discussion forum in Canvas. If your question is of a more personal nature, feel free to send a message to all faculty and TAs through Canvas email. We will check daily to respond.