Courses » Introduction to Materials Science and Engineering

Introduction to Materials Science and Engineering


This course is designed as a first introduction to microstructure and mechanical properties of engineering materials for undergraduate engineering students. The focus will be on clear presentation of basic fundamentals of structure and defects of crystalline materials. This will then be used to understand the transformations, heat treatments and mechanical behavior of structural materials. The course will also include several classroom and laboratory demonstrations. The course will also be useful as an introduction to materials science for engineers and scientists in industry, research labs and academic institutions.

Undergraduate students from all disciplines in engineering. Could be useful for students of solid state physics and solid state chemistry as well as engineers in industry looking for fundamentals of materials science

CORE/ELECTIVE: It is a core or elective depending upon the discipline and the institute of a student. At IITD it is core for B.Tech. in Biochemical, Chemical, Mechanical, Production & Industrial and Textile Engineering. It is elective for other disciplines


PREREQUISITES: Science at school level equivalent to 10+2 of Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), India.

INDUSTRY SUPPORT: Any industry concerned with materials, in particular automobile and manufacturing industries. Condensed versions of this course have been offered at Maruti Udyog Limited, Gurugram, and Terminal Ballistic Research Lab of DRDO, Chandigarh, India.

955 students have enrolled already!!


Professor Rajesh Prasad (B.Tech., IIT-BHU, Varanasi; M.E., IISc, Bangalore; Ph.D., Cambridge) began teaching Materials Science at University of Cambridge as a graduate teaching assistant for the undergraduate course Crystalline Materials. He now has about three decades of experience in teaching materials science courses at both undergraduate and graduate levels at the Indian Institutes of Technology, at Varanasi, Kanpur and Delhi. He received A.A. Krishnan Gold Medal for his M.E. thesis at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. He has been awarded a Teaching Excellence Award in 2012 by the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi. In 2013, he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award of the Department of Metallurgical Engineering, IIT-BHU, Varanasi.


Week 1

Lattice and crystal, 7 crystal systems, 14 Bravais lattices, Symmetry.

Week 2

Miller indices of directions and planes, Weiss Zone Law, Bragg's Law, Close-Packed structures: CCP, HCP.

Week 3

Voids in close-packed structures, Solid solutions: interstitial, substitutional, ordered, disordered. Hume-Rothery rules. 
Graphene, graphite and diamond.

Week 4

Carbon nanotubes, Buckminsterfullerene.
Ionic Solids: NaCl, CsCl, ZnS, BCC vs CsCl. 
Amorphous solids. 
Polymers: thermoplastic, thermosets, tacticity, copolymers, crystallinity.

Week 5

Defects: zero-, one- and two-dimensional. Vacancies. Dislocations: edge, screw and mixed. Burgers vectors and burgers circuit. Constancy of Burgers vector. Elastic energy of a dislocation.

Week 6

Dislocation cannot end abruptly inside a crystal, dislocation loop, dislocation node, dislocation motion: glide, climb and cross slip.
2D defects: free surfaces, grain boundaries, twin boundary, stacking faults, tilt and twist boundaries, ball bearing model.

Week 7

Phase diagrams. Phases and components. Phases present in the system. Composition of phases: Tie-Line rule. Proportion of Phases: Lever Rule. Microstructure Evolution. Invariant reactions: eutectic, eutectoid, peritectic, peritectoid. Gibbs phase rule.
Fe-C diagram.

Week 8

Fe-C diagram (Continued). Eutectoid, hypoeutectoid and hypereutectoid steels.
Diffusion: Fick's First and Second Laws. Error function solution of Fick's second law. Atomistic mechanisms of diffusion: interstitial and substitutional diffusion. Diffusion paths: lattice, grain boundary, dislocation and surface. Steady vs. unsteady state diffusion.

Week 9

Phase transformation. Nucleation: Homogeneous and heterogeneous. Nucleation and capillary rise. Growth and overall transformation. TTT diagrams. Heat treatment of steels. TTT diagrams of eutectoid steels.

Week 10

Quenching and martensite, Austempering and Bainite. Tempering and tempered martensite. Residual stresses and quench cracks. Marquenching and Martempering. TTT diagram of hypoeutectoid, hypereutectoid and alloy steels. Hardenability of steels. Glass ceramics.
Mechanical behaviour of materials. Tensile test. Plastic deformation and crystal structure. Slip. Resolved shear stress and critical resolved shear stress. Schmid's law.

Week 11

CRSS: theory vs. experiment. Strengthening mechanisms: strain hardening, grain size hardening, solid solution hardening and age hardening. Dislocation density. Frank-Read source. Annealing of cold-worked materials: Recovery, Recrystallisation, Grain Growth.

Week 12

True stress and true strain.
Creep. Effect of stress and temperature. Creep mechanisms.
Composites: isostrain and isostress modulus. 
Fracture. Ductile and brittle fracture. Role of crack size: Griffith's criterion. Stress concentration. Ductile-to-brittle transition. Enhancing fracture resistance. Toughening of glass: tempering and ion-exchange. Fatigue. Sub-critical crack growth.


Apart from the topics discussed above, this course also provides some additional information which will add to your knowledge of the field:  
  • History of crystallography
  • Miller-Bravais indices for hexagonal systems
  • An interesting result for Miller indices for a plane and its normal in cubic crystals
  • Regular/Platonic Solids
  • NaCl molecule: A scientific controversy
  • Proof of Lever rule
  • Theoretical estimation of critical resolved shear stress
  • Turbine blades
  • Comet aircraft disaster


•    V. Raghavan, Materials Science and Engineering: A First Course, 6 th . Edn., PHI Leraning, 2015.
•     W.D. Callister, Materials Science and Engineering: An Introduction, 6 th . Edn., Wiley, 2003.
  • The exam is optional for a fee.
  • Date of Exam: April 28th 2019 (Sunday).
  • Time of Exam: Morning session 9am to 2 noon; Afternoon session: 2pm to 5pm
  • Registration url: Announcements will be made when the registration form is open for registrations.
  • The online registration form has to be filled and the certification exam fee needs to be paid. More details will be made available when the exam registration form is published.

  • Final score will be calculated as : 25% assignment score + 75% final exam score
  • 25% assignment score is calculated as 25% of average of  Best 8 out of 12 assignments
  • E-Certificate will be given to those who register and write the exam and score greater than or equal to 40% final score. Certificate will have your name, photograph and the score in the final exam with the breakup.It will have the logos of NPTEL and IIT Madras. It will be e-verifiable at nptel.ac.in/noc.