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MSE 33500 Materials Characterization Laboratory

Credits and Contact Hours: 3 credits. Weekly Schedule for 15 weeks: two 50 minute lectures, one 3 hour laboratory session.

Instructors or Course Coordinators: J. Blendell, C. Martinez, L. Stanciu, E. Kvam, J. Youngblood and J. Howarter.

Textbook: "Electron Microscopy & Analysis", 3rd ed., D. Goodhew, F. Humphreys, and R. Beanland (Taylor & Francis, 2001).

Specific Course Information

  1. Catalog Description: The principles of analytical methods for characterization of materials for structure and composition; optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, x-ray spectroscopy and diffraction, atomic absorption, emission spectroscopy, and mass spectrometry. Laboratory experiments in x-ray spectroscopy, x-ray diffraction, optical microscopy, and scanning electron microscopy.
  2. Prerequisites: MSE 23500 or MSE 29200.
  3. Course Status: MSE 33500 is a required course.

Specific Goals for the Course

1. All Students

A. Ability to use a variety of tools to characterize materials. Examples:

  • Observation and recording of microstructures using an optical microscope
  • Collecting SEM images and EDS spectra
  • Imaging using Atomic Force Microscopy

B. Exhibit knowledge of experimental methods to collect and analyze data. Examples:

  • Ability to apply lineal, areal, and point count stereological techniques
  • Measurement of volume fraction of a phase, grain size, grain boundary area and density of particles
  • Ability to determine crystal structure and lattice parameter using x-ray diffraction
  • Ability to identify and quantify peaks in a powder diffraction pattern
  • Fracture mode determination from fracture surface and identification of fracture origin

C. Understand the basis of measurement methods. Examples:

  • Knowledge of the sources of signals used for secondary and back scattered electron imaging
  • Knowledge of the generation of signals used for x-ray microanalysis
  • Weibull analysis of strength data
  • Knowledge of the origin of signals used in thermal analysis

D. Exhibit effective communication skills. Example:

  • basic skills in technical writing of a laboratory report

E. Demonstrate awareness of basic laboratory safety practice.

F. Develop and implement a system or algorithm to determine the identity of an unknown sample.

2. Most Students

A. An advanced understanding of the basis of measurement methods. Examples:

  • show an understanding of image formation, magnification, resolution, depth of field in optical microscopy
  • discuss the reasons for ZAF corrections in x-ray microanalysis
  • understanding of computer aided data analysis in image analysis
  • Contrast mechanisms in AFM for both contact and non-contact mode

B. Ability to apply characterization techniques for materials analysis. Examples:

  • calculate spatial resolution limits for at least two different limiting conditions for x-ray microanalysis
  • calculate structure factor for simple structures and identify major factors that affect peak positions and intensities
  • Estimate of flaw distribution from fracture data

C. Assess the validity of experimental data. Examples:

  • Statistical variations in data
  • Accuracy of data relative to expected values, confidence intervals

D. Effective oral presentation of results.

3. Some Students

A. Ability to identify and utilize a characterization technique not included in the above objectives.

B. Make an assessment of the range of expected values in a measurement technique and report error analysis.

Relation of Course to Student Outcomes:

(MSE-2, ABET-b) an ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to develop engineering judgment through the analysis and interpretation of data.

(MSE-5, ABET-e) an ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems, particularly in the context of materials selection and design.

(MSE-7, ABET-g) an ability to exhibit effective oral and written communication skills.

(MSE-11, ABET-k) an ability to use the techniques, skills, and experimental, computational and data analysis tools necessary for materials engineering practice.

Topics Covered: scanning electron microscopy, optical microscopy, x-ray diffraction, powder analysis, atomic force microscopy, stereology, toughness/hardness, identification of unknowns.