Materials Education Symposia - Home

2015 Program (Archived Information)
7th International Materials Education Symposium

Talks and poster sessions allow educators to share ideas and resources for materials-related teaching. There is no restriction based on particular approaches or the use of any particular resources. Speakers and poster presenters will be invited to join the presenters' dinner (free of charge and exclusively for presenters and session chairs)

Symposium Day One: Thursday, April 9

time session
8.00 am Registration, Coffee, and Poster setup
8.45 am Prof. Mike Ashby – Engineering, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom 
Welcome Address
9.00 am Session Introduction
9.05 am Prof. Sybrand van der Zwaag – Aerospace Engineering, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands
Using "self healing materials" as a suitable topic for getting students to think as materials designers
9.30 am Dr. Claes Fredriksson – Education Division, Granta Design, Cambridge, United Kingdom
Enhancements to Materials Science and Engineering Teaching
9.55 am Poster Teasers
15 x Poster Presenters invited to give a two minute presentation
10.30 am Poster Session
11.15 am Dr. Maria Kocsis Baan – University of Miskolc, Department of Mechanical Technology, Hungary
Effect of new developments in materials science on surface engineering and engineering education
11.35 am Assoc. Prof. Wolfgang Pantleon – Technical University of Denmark, Denmark
Simulation of microstructure evolution with the Cambridge Engineering Selector
11.55 am Assist. Prof. Veronique Vitry – Universite de Mons, Department of Metallurgy, Belgium
Teaching old tricks to new dogs : using the bloomery as a teaching tool for extractive metallurgy
12.15 pm Session discussion led by the session chair
12.40 pm Lunch
2.00 pm Session Introduction
2.05 pm Prof. T. W. Clyne - Department of Materials Science, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom 
Lecture Demonstration Packages – A Recent Addition to DoITPoMS
2.30 pm Dr. Hugh Shercliff – Engineering, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom 
Materials and Sustainability in A level Physics – Raising the Profile of Engineering in Schools
2.55 pm Prof. Jose Ygnacio Pastor – Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, Spain
Materials Selection Challenge: first steps
3.15 pm Dr. Ian Mabbett – Swansea University Materials Academy, United Kingdom
Teaching Engineering - A qualitative science in a quantitative world
3.35 pm Poster Session continued
Coffee/Afternoon Tea
4.15 pm Dr. Steffen Ritter – Reutlingen University, Germany
Finding the needle in the haystack – the selection of polymer materials
4.35 pm Dr. Merce Segarra – Universitat de Barcelona, Department of Materials Science and Metallurgical Engineering, Spain
Interdisciplinary Experience In Materials Engineering
4.55 pm Session discussion led by the session chair
5.20 pm Concluding remarks
5.30pm Close
7:00pm Symposium Dinner, Trinity Hall

Symposium Day Two: Friday, April 10

time session
8.30 am Registration and coffee
9.00 am Session Introduction
9.05 am Prof. Mike Ashby – Engineering, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom 
Materials and Maps
9.30 am Mark Endean – The Open University, United Kingdom
jsMaterials – An Open Source HTML5 Repository for the Materials Education Community
9.55 am Poster Teasers
15 x Poster Presenters invited to give a two minute presentation
10.30 am Poster Session
11.15 am Prof. Richard Schilling  – Reutlingen University
Taxonomy for Materials Education - Structuring and Mapping the Materials Universe
11.35 am Dr. Laura Leyland – Birmingham City University, School of Engineering, Design and Manufacturing Systems, United Kingdom  
Accelerating Change – Curriculum Redesign for BSc Motorsports Technology
11.55 am Jules Hayward and Sven Herrmann – Ellen MacArthur Foundation
Ellen MacArthur Foundation works with education and business to accelerate the transition to a regenerative circular economy
12.15 pm Session discussion led by the session chair
12.40 pm Lunch
2.00 pm Session Introduction
2.05 pm Assoc. Prof. Michael Lauring – Aalborg University, Department of Architecture, Design and Media Technology, Denmark
Enabling Architectural Design based on Life Cycle Assessment of Materials, Construction and Form
2.30 pm Alison Ahearn – Imperial College London, Faculty of Engineering, United Kingdom
Oliver Broadbent – Think Up, United Kingdom
Industry-Academic Change: The Constructionarium Model
2.50 pm Prof. Hengfeng Zuo – Tsignhua University, China
Materials Teaching Resources and Methods for Industrial Design
3.10 pm Coffee/Afternoon Tea
3.55 pm Dr. Henrik Grüttner – University of Southern Denmark, Faculty of Engineering, Denmark
Assessment of the loss of scarce resources from household products by reverse engineering - experience from seven years teaching of design engineering students
4.15 pm Erik Haastrup Muller – Futation &, Denmark
The use of physical material libraries and strategies for building them
4.35 pm Introduction to 8th International Materials Education Symposium
4.55 pm Session and day discussion led by the session chairs
5.20 pm Prof. Mike Ashby
Concluding remarks
5.30 pm Close

Presentation Abstracts

Using "Self Healing Materials" as a Suitable Topic for Getting Students to Think as Materials Designers

Sybrand van der Zwaag, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands

Bsc and Msc students in the mechanical and related engineering disciplines invariably receive a relatively large amount of teaching in the field of materials in which they become familiar with the key parameters to quantify the mechanical and physical performance of materials as well as with some of the underlying physical and microstructural principles. The students are expected to learn a bit about the properties of existing materials too. While certainly defendable, the net result of this approach is that students associate the field of materials science and engineering more as the art of collecting factual information than as a design study to build materials with desirable properties on the basis of atomic and microstructural building blocks. the design principle underlying the emerging field of ‘self healing’ materials ‘create a material with local temporary mobility” is found to be well suited to make engineering students think as (new) materials designers rather than as material users. The module is ideally suited as an introduction to a typical advanced materials course for engineering students at Msc level.

Enhancements to Materials Science and Engineering Teaching

Claes Fredriksson, Justinas Cesonis, Tim Davies, Granta Design Ltd, United Kingdom

Large classes and limited resources for teaching are stimulating increasing interest in computer-based and self-guided learning methods. Such approaches, whether it be reviewing videos before class (flipped classroom), reading e-books or engaging with mobile apps are becoming more important. The methods that suit the generation that has grown up post-Google (1998) are interactive and visual. The challenge is to develop these while still meeting or exceeding the norms set down by accreditation schemes such as ABET, EUR-ACE or the CDIO Syllabus. In collaboration with Educators and Students, we have been exploring the design of resources to support this evolution in the teaching of Materials Science and Engineering.

One computer-based resource that meets some of the mentioned criteria is the CES EduPack, introducing students to materials and their selection for design. We have found this to be a suitable platform to develop support for a Science-led approach to Materials teaching. So far we have investigated Curricula from Universities around the world, in the field of Materials Science and Engineering, and identified some common areas: Materials Processing and Microstructure, Functional Materials, Defects and Failure, Material Characterization, Phase Diagrams and Crystallography.

The talk will outline a planned structure and content of databases which are still under consideration and we would like to leave time at the end of the presentation to encourage debate on which areas would be of most value to the Materials Educators in the room and how they would like to see such a tool developed.

Effect of new developments in materials science on surface engineering and engineering education

Mária Kocsis Baán, University of Miskolc, Hungary
Zoltán Kolozsváry, SC Plasmaterm SA, Romania

Among the most important challenges faced by engineering education, the dilemma of Science vs. Engineering approaches may be mentioned as the most general question. Evidently, both missions of HEIs, - i.e. scientific research and engineering education - cannot exist without each other, however finding the optimum balance between them needs endless and borderless communication between academic and industrial sectors. Such kind of communication has been taking place in the framework of the GLOBAL 21 project of the IFHTSE (International Federation for Heat Treatment and Surface Engineering) since the beginning of the 21 century.

The latest workshops – held in world-wide conferences of heat treaters in 2014 – focused on the influence of materials science development on the material processing – especially heat treatment and surface engineering – sector,  outlining a few aspects of engineering education as well. Most of universities with mechanical engineering or similar faculties are teaching materials science in the first year of their bachelor programs and eventually later a course of modern materials and advanced processes. There is a gap between teaching materials and technologies and the new generation of materials including nano-materials and especially bio- and info materials. As a result the students - or later the engineers - consider engineering materials more or less the traditional ones, especially metals (eventually polymers and composites) but the new categories remain only for special interest of a few dedicated people who rarely will find their place in the industry. The lack of interest for engineering in general between young people might find its roots also in this view as “old fashioned profession”. IT, communication, management, etc. seem to be more attractive though all these are practically part of a “second level” in the industry, which may not survive without the “hard core” of creating goods, no matter if these are machines, architectural objects or even food at all levels.

Industry needs graduates with much diversified factual knowledge, but with more or less generic, new „soft-skills” and competencies. So we should pay more attention not only to „what to teach” but also to the question „how to teach”.  Engineers have to find the optimum in applying all known scientific theory and technological solutions for solving a problem. As a researcher we may say: this or that aspect is out of my scope/objective… But as engineers, nothing can be out of our interest, if it may result in a better solution. How can we - research-oriented teacher, using old-fashion education methods - support our students to become open-minded, creative, good engineers, capable to navigate in the “info-smog”, to absorb and generate new knowledge? 

Should we draw conclusions? The only reasonable one is to be aware of the extremely fast development of the materials science and to be ready to diversify both the applied materials and surface engineering techniques for engineering structures and components from the most diverse areas.

Simulation of microstructure evolution with the Cambridge Engineering Selector

Wolfgang Pantleon, Technical University of Denmark, Denmark

Within the Cambridge Engineering Selector, materials are generally presented as entities with a set of known physical properties. For any given material, specific properties may vary within a certain range, but neither the physical origin of the variation, nor the influence of processing of a material on its properties is revealed. In this manner, insight in the enormous potential for tailoring properties by, for instance, thermo-mechanical treatments is hindered.

In order to overcome this limitation, an approach is presented to utilize the features of the hybrid synthesizer to simulate the property changes due to thermo-mechanical treatment. As a first application, annealing of deformed metals is considered. During annealing, the hard material representing the deformed state is replaced by softer material representing the recrystallized state. Adding both (the metal in the deformed state and the same metal in the recrystallized state) as two different new material records, material resulting from any chosen annealing treatment leading to partial recrystallization of the metal can be simulated using the hybrid synthesizer as composite of materials in the two states with respective properties. This approach cannot only be used to simulate the yield strength, under appropriate assumption, ultimate tensile strength and maximum uniform elongation of the partially recrystallized metal can be defined as well.

In case of recrystallization, such a modeling in terms of a composite can be motivated straightforwardly. The same approach can be applied to work-hardening of metals. In this case, a description of work-hardened material as hypothetical composite of the undeformed state and the stationary state with saturating flow stress is completely unphysical. Nevertheless, the mathematically analogous governing equations allow treating work-hardening with the hybrid synthesizer as well. Both cases are presented and selected examples for illustrating the effects of annealing and plastic deformation on different mechanical properties discussed.

Teaching old tricks to new dogs : using the bloomery as a teaching tool for extractive metallurgy

V. Vitry, F. Delaunois, University of Mons, Belgium

The experimental aspects of teaching extractive metallurgy are often very limited due to the complexity of the process and the high temperatures required. Consequently, most practicals involve either plant visits, were the students can see less and less of the process each year due to the increase of the security measures in iron and steelmaking plants. The lab alternatives are often outside of the main processes: raw materials preparation and evaluation, chemical analysis of raw materials and products, or they involve mostly computer modeling of the process (using tools as steeluniversity for example).

To answer to the need of the students to observe the phenomena happening in steelmaking, we chose to use an experimental bloomery. For our first attempt, this was carried out as a 3rd year bachelor group project in our chemistry and materials science engineering curriculum. The group of students studied the process, designed the bloomery themselves, based on a lit review and went on to construct and operate it, using loosely the guidelines of the CDIO approach. After the experiment, we were able to obtain several kilograms of bloomery iron that were investigated with modern methods (SEM, EDX, numerical microscopy).

In the future, the experiment will be reproduced by the lab staff, to present a one day practical for the students and to enable us to show the iron and steelmaking processes to non-scientific audiences.

Lecture Demonstration Packages – A Recent Addition to DoITPoMS

T. W. Clyne, Cambridge University

The DoITPoMS ( libraries of Micrographs, Videos and Teaching and Learning Packages (TLPs), which date from the start of the century (and are currently accessed by about 5,000 people per day), have recently been supplemented by a set of Lecture Demonstration Packages (LDPs)  -  see  These contain information about short (~3-5 minutes) practical demonstrations to be carried out within a lecture, aimed at illustrating a particular point or two within a Materials Science course.  They are designed as a resource for Lecturers.  They include a video showing the demonstration being performed, as well as background information about preparation, safety aspects, scientific context etc.

The following LDPs are currently available:

  • Cooling of Bi-Material Strips to generate Curvature:
    -  shows how cooling of bi-material strips with liquid nitrogen causes curvature, and explains the relationship between this and the stiffness and thermal expansivities of the materials concerned.
  • Crack Growth in Inflated Balloons:
    -  looks at crack propagation in inflated balloons, covering the (Griffith) basics of fracture and stress fields in internally pressurised cylinders.
  •   Deformation Twinning in Low Symmetry Metals:
    -  centred on tin cry, the characteristic sound heard when a bar of tin is bent so as to cause deformation twinning - common in structures of low crystallographic symmetry.
  •   Thermally-Induced Recovery of the Shape of a Spring:
    - a NiTi alloy is observed during deformation and subsequent heating, including an explanation of the shape memory effect and the “shape training” process.
  •   Work Hardening in Metallic Polycrystals:
    - an introduction to work hardening in metals, via bending of a copper rod, giving some insights into dislocation creation and interactions.

A brief outline will be given of the structure of LDPs, which provide the basic scientific background, the technical details needed to set up the demonstration and in some cases also include relevant simulations (of a type used in many DoITPoMS TLPs).  The video gives an indication of how the demonstration can be carried out, or of course it could itself be used directly as a teaching aid.  A few basic points will be made about aspects to be borne in mind when giving practical demonstrations in lectures.

Materials and Sustainability in A level Physics – Raising the Profile of Engineering in Schools

Hugh Shercliff, Kate Tomlinson, Cambridge University

Maths and Physics are pre-requisite post-16 subjects for admission to most university Engineering courses. In the UK, data from the Institute of Physics (IoP) indicate that approximately 26 % of students taking A level Physics go on to study some form of Engineering at university (around 3 times as many as go on to take Physics).  Yet A level specifications vary widely in the emphasis given to different topics relevant to Engineering – and furthermore the way in which the topics are taught will have a significant impact.

This talk will present some views on the teaching of school Physics, informed by a recent review by the IoP Curriculum Committee.  Key issues are: (a) how best to use Engineering applications to provide context and motivation for studying the concepts of Physics, and to encourage more students to consider Engineering at university; (b) how best to provide resources to support these aspirations – not only for students, but also for the teachers, most of whom have no first-hand experience of Engineering.

Exemplar resources are under development and being trialled with a number of schools, and with OCR (the locally-based examination board). Sample content will be presented on the topics of Materials and Sustainability (neither of which generally receive much attention in A level courses – an issue in itself).  The aim is to raise the profile of Engineering in school Physics, and to test whether students can be taught to “think like an engineer” within a traditional school science curriculum.

Materials Selection Challenge: first steps

J.Y. Pastor and E. Tejado, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain

Modern educational approaches strongly emphasise active learning based on projects and problems, underlining the idea that learning may occur at every location and any time: in the classroom, on a fieldtrip, in a museum, at home, in the streets of a city, on Wikipedia, etc. Learning may happen within one of these spaces, but also across them. In this respect, science fairs are a way to overlap those learning spaces into one, encouraging young people to become involved in and excited by science and technology, acquiring communication skills and the opportunity to interact with other students interested in science. Nevertheless, those activities are not usual at University level, where traditional way of learning is still extended.

Objectives: The aim of this competition is to encourage students of Materials Science and Engineering to use their background and their imagination and wit. College students will have to propose an original case of Materials Selection that may be based on close situations or forensic analysis of failures in service. With CES EduPack as a basic tool, competitors must solve in deep a selection of materials they present.

Participants: Participation is open to any student or group of students.

How they participate?: Registration in the competition will be made through the internet application available on our website. The presentation format will be through the development of a video longer than three minutes should be up to and insert the URL of the video in the application for registration. The video will be accompanied by a title and text up to a maximum of two thousand words and figures that explain the purpose of the video and what it is told. Both the video and the text can be presented in Spanish bilingual format and / or English. The title must be in both languages.

Among the videos submitted will be preselected for up to ten finalists. On March 21, the organizers will contact the authors of the finalist videos to announce the decision, and given the option of presenting a more complete version of his work. During the celebration of the 2015 MaterialsWeek finalists must submit their papers (presented in a Word document via e-mail) and defend their work before a jury. The presentation can be both onsite and via videoconference to residents outside the region of Madrid. The organization will provide support to establish the remote connection. The maximum duration of the presentation will be ten minutes, which will help transparency in PDF, PPT / PPTX format with a maximum size of 10 MB.

The deadline for submitting contributions is open until 12 March 2015, so that this paper presents the first results and impressions of this challenge to the students of our college are shown, but it is open to those students wishing to participate due to the possibility of connection via Internet.

Teaching Engineering - A qualitative science in a quantitative world

Ian Mabbett, Swansea University, UK

Teaching materials science and engineering is a rewarding occupation usually carried out by practicing researchers hoping that their technologies will contribute to economic growth and the young minds they inspire will fill the jobs created. That’s the dream, but engineering research and teaching methods are worlds apart and mastery of both can appear conflicting at times.

Materials science and engineering is the perfect platform for teaching with a constructivist view because it is the linking subject between fundamental science and large scale engineering application. This can provide analogy to aid understanding. However, challenges come when the teacher is asked to engage in reflective practice and evaluate learning outcomes and teaching practice. Engineers are a self-selecting group of typically quantitative scientists; continuous improvement to us means fixing a yes or no problem. However, when dealing with people as we have to when teaching, we enter the world of social sciences, laden with ‘grey areas’. A poorly carried out evaluation, a qualitative evaluation designed by a quantitative scientist, can be more harmful to the conclusions drawn than no evaluation at all.  Another aspect to consider is that some teaching methods promoted by those who research teaching might work better on those likeminded students studying social sciences.

 In this work I want to introduce some steps taken at Swansea to investigate whether teaching quantitative subjects really is a qualitative science or whether we have a special ‘exemption’ from most modern learning and teaching theory. We also investigate how some of these quantitative aspects can be explained with reference to the more quantitative science that we are used to; cognitive psychology vs. neuroscience if you like. I’d also like to open up discussion around this and call for more institutions, countries and subject areas to ask the same questions and share their data.

Finding the needle in the haystack – the selection of polymer materials

Steffen Ritter, Dennis Dollinger, Reutlingen University, Germany

The number of polymers is exploding over the past years and plastic materials are being used for more and more products. While they may get a bad name from the environmental point of view, it is still true, that their unique combination of cost, formability, stiffness and density means that they are the best material for the job in many cases. With 88,000 different polymers listed in the IDES Plastics database, how are students meant to navigate this profusion of materials? And how can we encourage them to explore and develop their own new materials, without overwhelming them with too much detail?

Almost 300Mt of plastic materials are produced worldwide annually. However, 80% of this production comes from a few specific thermoplastics, whereas other grades used only in very small quantities. Students are therefore more likely to deal with this group of polymers, so from a teaching perspective, it is useful to narrow down to these thermoplastic grades. Another simplifying mechanism is to identify the basic ways in which polymer properties are manipulated and to illustrate these effects. Basically giving the students a coarse map of the different levers they can pull and what effect they will have.

The presentation will identify the most commonly used polymers and give a general overview of their properties and what they are used for as a result. A general material selection methodology will be shown, to be applied for plastic selection. It will then go through some of the main ways that polymer properties can be manipulated, illustrated by property charts. Their effects are shown as well as how these mechanism work and what the resulting materials are used for.

Interdisciplinary Experience In Materials Engineering

M. Segarra, E. Xuriguera, M. Martínez, A.I. Fernández, Universitat de Barcelona, Spain

Materials engineering is related to many industrial sectors and branches of knowledge, so many that sometimes it is difficult to find an approach between them.

The Universitat de Barcelona is a generalist university, with five campuses in the city, around 80000 students and with more than 100 departments specialized in very different areas of knowledge, often with poor knowledge of the activities developed by the others. This lack of contact between the areas is often overcome by the proximity of the schools (in the same campus) or by the relationships between researchers that can lead to interdisciplinary activities enhancing the learning skills of students.

Third year students of Materials Engineering Degree at the Universitat de Barcelona have the course “Laboratory of Materials” as compulsory. In this course the students develop a project-based experience and are encouraged to hands-on learning in an environment for developing skills. Each team should deal with a specific material problem in an industrial application. An example of project developed during last year is the determination of the ideal composition of a tin bronze for the manufacture of bells.

After selecting three alloys with the help of EduPack software, students produced different alloys by means of induction furnaces, and characterized their microstructure in the labs of Department of Materials Science and Metallurgical Engineering. Further, they manufactured molds for bells and cast the alloys into them at the workshop of the Department of Sculpture in the College of Fine Arts, with the supervision of the lecturers from that department. Afterwards, the acoustic characterization of the bells was performed at the Department of Applied Physics in the Polytechnic University of Catalonia.

The results show that students can not only put into practice some of the techniques discussed in class but also they can correlate their studies with different disciplines. Because of this interaction, some students have chosen for the next semester an elective course on Models and Prototypes taught by the Department of Sculpture. The experience has been very successful for both students and faculty members involved.

Materials and Maps

M. Ashby, University of Cambridge

UK Maps condense information; they distil; they capture essentials and reveal relationships. They collapse, onto a single sheet, data that would take pages to report as text or tables. Above all, they are visual; they reveal shape, connections and disconnects. What has this to do with materials? Start at the beginning: the Periodic Table of the elements is a map – you might think of it as having axes of atomic number and outer-electron configuration. When the known elements were first plotted in this way, the gaps revealed what we did not know: undiscovered elements, some attributes of which could even be predicted from the position of the gap even before they were discovered. You can map onto maps. Governments, concerned about security of material supply, identify certain elements as “critical”, meaning that security of supply is essential for reasons of economy or national security. Mapping these and bills of materials for products onto the Periodic Table reveals where dependencies exists; and mapping the countries of origin of the materials onto another map– that of the world – reveals vulnerability to supply constraints. Materials can be mapped in many other revealing ways. Materials have properties – mechanical, thermal, electrical, environmental. Think of these properties as the axes of a multi-dimensional material-property space. Pairs or combinations of these properties can be mapped; each map is a section through material-property space. Doing so reveals patterns and relationships. Material processing, such as thermal or mechanical treatments, changes the properties, shifting the position of the material in material-property space and reconfiguring the patterns. The maps reveal that, for any section, part of the material-property space is filled but part is empty. Certain parts of the space are inaccessible for fundamental reasons, but blocking these off still leaves holes that could, in principle, be filled. From this emerges the idea of vectors for material development, focusing attention on directions for material research that might prove most fruitful. The talk will illustrate these points with examples, opening the way for possible discussion.

jsMaterials – An Open Source HTML5 Repository for the Materials Education Community

Mark Endean, The Open University, UK
Andrew Green, Materials e-Learning Technologies, UK

The Open University postgraduate engineering team is revitalising a longstanding distance learning module in manufacturing technology. The goal is a module that reflects current trends in manufacturing and motivates the learner through frequent interactions with models of processes. The project has involved critically appraising the potential to incorporate existing online learning resources in the new module.

A considerable range of resources exists in a variety of formats in a number of different repositories. From the early work of the MATTER project on CD-ROM to that of individual institutions such as Cambridge University (DoITPoMS, MAP), European Aluminium Association (aluMATTER) and WorldSteel (SteelUniversity), and the JISC funded CORE-Materials project, many of these resources are available to the whole materials community. Whilst CORE-Materials addressed both technical and legal challenges in making compiled Flash movies available for reuse, it did not extend to the modification of the source code, data or design.

Out of our review has come a clear need to establish a truly reusable, customisable, open source e-Learning resource library for the Materials community to share. To achieve this goal we have identified a number of essential steps.

  • Establishing an open-source development and hosting environment.
  • Developing frameworks and/or templates for the resources.
  • Developing a resource gallery front-end.
  • Building a community of contributors and users (from education, commerce and third sector).
  • Making appropriate licensing arrangements.
  • Establishing curation and documentation principles.
  • Developing business models for sustainability.

We will demonstrate in our presentation how we are redeveloping existing works for our current project and use these as exemplars to show how others could contribute to an evolving resource library for the whole community. Issues we will explore include how to fund such an initiative, when not attached to a specific teaching project, curating the gallery of resources, and intellectual property rights.

Taxonomy for Materials Education - Structuring and Mapping the Materials Universe

Richard Schilling, Reutlingen University, Germany

A host of research results in life sciences and particle physics alike has resulted in significant changes of the taxonomy to describe the relationship between species both in biological systems and the elementary particle "zoo". This, in turn, triggered new research and greatly enhanced teaching of the respective fields.

The talk sets out to discuss alternatives to the current taxonomy of materials and the positive effects they can have on teaching materials science.

Accelerating Change – Curriculum Redesign for BSc Motorsports Technology

Laura Leyland, Birmingham City University

In response to a brief entitled “Accelerating Change: redesigning the curriculum to reach our destination”, the project being reported was  to develop the BSc Motorsports Technology course as a pilot in line with the strategic plan for the Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment (CEBE)  – and to do it quickly (four months).

The Motorsports Technology course already integrated practice-based and activity based learning.  For example, the IMechE’s Formula Student project is integral to the second year (level 5) of the course.  It is in the further development of these elements, and their integration into the more traditional “taught” elements of the course, that we see the greatest benefit.

A major innovation for 2014 is the first year Sustainable Racing Project.  During this module students procure a donor car, which is then systematically stripped of all key components over a few weeks, identifying components, function, materials, process...  The components are then re-assembled onto a race car chassis ready to be tested on the track, in a race series in the Spring.  Motorsports Engineering scaffolding modules are delivered to provide the theory when it is needed to support the project module.

We are currently delivering week four of the new course. By the Symposia we will have completed the first build of the donor car project, and will be able to report on this.

At this stage we can only comment on process rather than impact, but it is already clear that the project provided an opportunity to expedite change within a system which does not normally promote quick changes.  It is clear however that some activities still need to occur within the system, and the response time for these may not match the project timescales. The support of senior management figures is essential to the success of such initiatives. It is not useful to go on holiday during such exciting developments.

Ellen MacArthur Foundation works with education and business to accelerate the transition to a regenerative circular economy

Jules Hayward and Sven Herrmann, Ellen MacArthur Foundation

The Foundation works on developing a multi-disciplinary framework for how teaching and learning can most effectively engage with a generation to build a circular economy and share best teaching practices with institutions globally.  We will present two projects that we’re currently undertaking to highlight the work we do around education and insight.

DIF - In October 2014 the Foundation curated the first Disruptive Innovation Festival (DIF), bringing together thought-leaders, entrepreneurs, businesses, makers, educators, learners and doers to catalyse system-level change for a future economy. The overarching theme of the festival is around showcasing and exploring ideas that work towards building a regenerative economy. The festival has a particular focus on how to activate entrepreneurs and designers within the global economy to rethink the future and engage with these emerging opportunities. In this presentation we will review the valuable input and the role educators and universities play on the future of education in relation to a circular economy. 

Circularity Indicators - The Ellen MacArthur Foundation and Granta Design were granted funding to develop a new methodology to measure circularity of products and deliver a web-based tool that will provide businesses with the tools required to track their progress in delivering a circular economy based business model. These product level circularity indicators will support businesses in creating accurate, measurable and consistent parameters for tracking their circularity progress and measuring impact. This work is open for review by investors, regulators, and educators. Here we will ask if this methodology could help engage students with the concept of a circular economy and to help businesses to engage with the design of circular products. Examples of use will be shown with a simple case study.

Enabling Architectural Design based on Life Cycle Assessment of Materials, Construction and Form

Michael Lauring and Rob Marsh, Aalborg University

Designing sustainable architecture requires the integration of a large number of aspects of technical, functional and aesthetic character. If a multitude of aspects are to be handled during the sketching phase where crucial environmental decisions are taken, each aspect’s influence on the design strategy must be easy to grasp and different solutions must be easy to calculate in a quick manner.  While for instance calculations of energy consumption for heat and ventilation are relatively easy to carry out as simple digital tools are available, life cycle assessment of building materials is much more complicated. Each material represents a lot of data, different environmental impacts are difficult to compare, there are numerous materials represented even in a simple house and on top of that the choice of materials and constructions influences the heat consumption while also being crucial to the visual and tactile outcome of the architectural design. This paper tells of a successful attempt at making a research-based handbook for students and practitioners of architecture, engineering and building construction that describes, calculates and visualizes the above mentioned aspects in order to facilitate the inclusion of life cycle assessment in design and architectural engineering. The work has been published as: Marsh, R; Lauring, M; Petersen, E.H. (2000): Arkitektur og miljø. Form konstruktion materialer - og miljøpåvirkning.  Århus: Kunstakademiets Arkitektskolens Forlag, 128 pages.  Also as: Marsh, R; Lauring, M; Petersen, E.H: Passive solar energy and thermal mass: the implications of environmental analysis, in ARQ - Architectural Research Quarterly, 2001 no 1 volume 5, pp 79-89, Cambridge University Press. The paper also summarizes the reception of the book and the current state of LCA-based design in Denmark, see also 

Industry-Academic Change: The Constructionarium Model

Alison Ahearn, Imperial College London
Oliver Broadbent, Think Up

The Constructionarium is a week-long fieldcourse which made a step-change impact on construction education via an academic-industry partnership. It is a hands-on, fast-track construction experience for up to 100 students at a time. Students build four-storey towers or 20m steel bridges in five days flat. It replaced paper-glue classroom exercises with genuine construction using real engineering materials, real plant, facing real risks producing tangible, large structures. Working as firms of contractors, students handle “the buck stops here” decision-making pressure. It has spread from Imperial to 16 UK universities since 2003. Industry and academia have invested heavily, creating a sophisticated learning resource. Lately, the hands-on, brains-on concept has extended to chemical engineering via the “Nuclear Island Big Rig” scheme, addressing the undersupply of nuclear-aware engineers. That adaptation has inspired the authors to present kickstarter ideas on how Materials education might adapt the concept/resource, including ideas on how industry-academe can co-operate.  

Materials Teaching Resources and Methods for Industrial Design

Hengfeng Zuo, Tsinghua University, China

Materials education for art and design (e.g., industrial design) students encounters a few difficulties and challenges, such as:
1. students being unfamiliar with technical terms and languages;
2. students having different thinking ways;
3. lack of technical facilities and experimental conditions with materials in some art and design schools;
4. lack of dual-expertise with both materials knowledge and design experience in some schools etc.

According to my practice and experience in the Academy of Arts & Design of Tsinghua University (China), I think the most important aspects of delivering an effective and efficient materials teaching to industrial design students include the following:
1. Utilising various thinking methods (logic thinking, lateral thinking, analogical thinking etc);
2. Introducing materials resources (various websites, software e.g. CES EduPack, textbooks etc);
3. Encouraging materials exploration via experiment (for a particular purpose according to a particular design brief);
4. Establishing a sensation and aesthetics based material database as an additional support (this database corresponds to a physical material library with real material samples);
5. Tutorial of materials with real design examples from both tutor's own design practice and other design professionals' practice, which showcase wise and successful application of materials.

This talk will address materials teaching resources and methods for industrial design course, with emphasis put on materials exploration via experiment. Such experiments include:
1. multi-sensory interaction with materials to produce either a sensory harmony or sensory incongrency or Synesthetic effects;
2. exploration of materials function to meet design requirements etc;
3. materials dimensions and form exploration;
4. material surface finish or decoration exploration.

I will share the experience of materials teaching and showcase the design work with innovative materials application in domestic products and aero-industrial products from both our undergraduate students and master students of industrial design at the Academy of Arts & Design.

Assessment of the loss of scarce resources from household products by reverse engineering - experience from seven years teaching of design engineering students

Henrik Grüttner, P. M Skov, University of Southern Denmark, Denmark

Understanding environmental impacts of materials (and appropriate material selection) requires a basic understanding of the origin, the use and – as a fairly recently recognized issue – the fate of the materials end-of-life for the products. Such understanding is of paramount importance for designers and construction engineers in our modern society being increasingly aware of the scarcity and impacts of our resource consumption. Considering the increasing use of electronic devices in the households it is important to assess the amount of resources tied in the devices and their recovery in the end-of-life treatment.

During now seven years, we have been using a problem-based teaching approach for design engineering students and environmental technology students. The approach allows the students to create a bill of materials by ‘reverse engineering’ of common household products and assess the impacts by application of the MECO-method.

The MECO method focuses on the scarcity of the resources used to create the materials and the loss of resources depending on their fate end of life by application of the Person Reserve concept. Further, the method considers the energy consumed during the different life cycle stages and qualitatively assesses potentially harmful chemicals and other aspects.

Over the years approximately 80 products have been assessed including groups of similar products like vacuum cleaners, robotic vacuum cleaners, coffee machines and electric handheld screwing machines.

From a teaching point of view, the reverse engineering approach creates a number of benefits. Among the benefits, motivation should be emphasized, related to the joy of investigating some real stuff. This motivation also encourages the students to establish an understanding of the properties of the materials found in the products.

On the negative side, the frustration of the difficulties to identify the actual composition of the materials has to be mentioned. That, on the other hand, also creates incentives to learn more about the properties of the actual materials.

With respect to the environmental impacts, the assessments show a number of similarities between products families; in particular the high loss of scarce resources from electronic components and a high consumption of energy during the use stage.

With respect to scarcity of resources, the differences in particular relates to different amounts of electronic features. The different amount  of printed circuit boards, contacts, regulators and sensors, and different levels of material complexity is significantly impacting the recycling efficiency in the shredder systems.

The use of physical material libraries and strategies for building them

Erik Haastrup Müller, Futation &, Denmark

Physical material libraries within educational institutions help students and faculty understand material properties at a level beyond text and illustrations.

In this talk I’ll present different ways material libraries are used by educators for material science, concept development, and entrepreneurship courses.

Material libraries can have a great value in education and many design and engineering schools therefore strive to build their own material libraries. It is my experience that many of these initiatives die relatively quickly because organizers underestimate the work required to collect and catalogue the materials.

I have collected and catalogued more than 320 different materials and distributed 15000 individual samples; in that process I have developed strategies on approaching material suppliers. I’ll share these strategies and some tips and tricks on acquiring material samples by other means.

I will also present the idea of setting up a material sample sharing network in which educators can exchange material samples.