Properties/applications of engineering materials

Adding just a small proportion of carbon to iron produces a material that is much stronger and harder. Mixing nickel and titanium can produce a material that has the extraordinary property of being able to ‘remember’ a shape. From just a few dozen metallic elements, there are an infinite number of alloys that can be created, each with their own characteristic properties. Understanding how the structure of metals and alloys determines their properties has led to advances in the design of alloys with properties suited to their intended applications.

This list suggests some activities that can be used with students to demonstrate the properties and applications of some common metals and alloys. There are links to other resources that can be used to illustrate their engineering applications.

Whilst this list provides a source of information and ideas for experimental work, it is important to note that recommendations can date very quickly. Do NOT follow suggestions which conflict with current advice from CLEAPSS, SSERC or other recent safety guides. eLibrary users are responsible for ensuring that any activity, including practical work, which they carry out is consistent with current regulations related to health and safety and that they carry an appropriate risk assessment. Further information is provided in our health and safety guidance