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University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs

These course descriptions are not being updated as of August 1, 2016. Current course descriptions are maintained in LionPATH.

Materials Science and Engineering (MATSE)

MATSE 081 (GN;IL) Materials in Today's World (3) A survey of the properties, manufacture, and uses of polymers, ceramics and metals in today's world with emphasis on modern developments and new materials.

MATSE 081 Materials in Today's World (3)

(BA) This course meets the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements.

MATSE 081 presents the basic science and technology of materials to non-science students. The course concentrates on "Materials in Today's World" but frames the discussion in a relevant historical framework. The lectures are built around "The Central Paradigm of Materials Science and Engineering" which links processing to structures to properties to performance.

The fundamental basis of the science of materials, structure, is addressed first. Beginning at the sub-atomic level, the students are introduced to the intrinsically simple concept of metals and non-metals, and to a fundamental understanding of The Periodic Table. From these conceptual ideas, ceramics and electronic materials are rationalized or the basis of their electronic structures.

The properties of materials, e.g., mechanical, thermal, electronic and photonic are developed directly from a knowledge of the structures discussed in earlier lectures. The concept of materials' design is introduced with respect to the properties of density, melting point and hardness. "Young's modulus design" is also described.

There are as many processing routes as there are materials. Hence, the slate of lectures on processing, investigates prototypical examples of: metals - steel; ceramics - vitreous ceramics; and polymers-polyethylene. Current practices for e.g., the processing of steel and vitreous ceramics are compared with those, which were employed in antiquity.

The performance of materials is a constant theme that permeates all the lectures. For example, during the "firing of clay ceramics", the question "how does the temperature of firing affect both performance and utility?" is addressed.

The great thinkers of the physical sciences are introduced via vignettes that are presented, often at the beginning of class. Giants such as Aristotle and Newton are described, warts and all, in an effort to make science a broader part of the human experience. The professor also uses many examples from his own scientific experiences, and his interaction with some of the more (in) famous of the modern scientists.

General Education: GN
Diversity: IL
Bachelor of Arts: Natural Sciences
Effective: Summer 2005

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.


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