29773 - Metallurgy T

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Quality education Industry, innovation and infrastructure Responsible consumption and production

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

The course aims at discussing the basic criteria for microstructural and mechanical characterization of metals and alloys. The main learning objectives are: (i) how to select metallic materials for the production of mechanical components working in a given service condition (ii) how to identify the reasons for malfunctioning related to material features. Particular attention will be devoted to the presentation of the main microstructural, fractographic and mechanical characterization techniques for metals and alloys.

Course contents

Course introduction: presentation of course contents, teaching method and materials, as well as of assessment methods.

Mechanical testing and properties: tensile, hardness, fatigue, impact, creep, friction and wear. Basics on microstructural and fractographic analyses of metals.

Alloys and phase diagrams: Phases and structural constituents. Cooling curves, phase and lever rules. Solidification and cooling of binary metal alloys.

Solidification microstructures and defects: casting technology basics. Nucleation and growth of pure metals and alloys. Influence of solidification microstructure and defects on mechanical properties. Solidification structures control methodologies.

Crystal structure and imperfections in the atomic arrangement: main crystal structures of metals and their effect on mechanical properties. Point defects and atom movements in materials (diffusion).

Dislocations and theory of plastic deformation: basics on the dislocations theory.

Strengthening mechanisms of metals: solid solution, strain hardening (plastic deformation technology basics), grain refinement, precipitation and dispersion. Influence of microstructure on electrical properties of metallic materials. Basics on dielectric properties of ceramics.

Binary phase diagrams of metallic alloys. The Fe-C phase diagram: Phases and micro-constituents. Cooling and solidification of steels in equilibrium conditions. Equilibrium microstructures of carbon steels.

Designation and classification of steels according to EURONORM

Phase transformations in steels: Ferritic, prelatic, bainitic and martensitic transformation. TTT and CCT curves.

Heat treatments of steels: annealing, normalizing, quenching, tempering. Austempering.

Thermochemical diffusion treatments  (carburizing, nitriding) for the enhancement of friction/wear and fatigue properties.

Aluminum alloys: properties and applications in energy generation systems. Main alloying elements, designation (casting alloys vs. wrought alloys), microstructures, heat treatments and mechanical properties.

Metallic materials in energy generation systems. Metals and alloys for high temperature applications (Ni and Co superalloys, refractory metals). Stainless steels (austenitic, ferritic, martensitic and duplex types). Designation, microstructure, properties and applications.

Selection criteria of metals as a function of the service conditions.


Course material (slides and notes in Italian). All the slides used by the teacher are available in the Moodle repository, as password-protected pdf files (in Italian).

W.D. Callister “Fundamentals of Materials Science and Engineering”, J.Wiley and Sons (2001)

D.R. Askeland, P. Webster "The science and engineering of materials", Chapman & Hall (2007)

Teaching methods

Classroom lectures and online lectures according to the timetable as well as to health and safety protocols. Interactive learning tests on the main concepts. Audiovisuals on the main (i) concepts and processes (ii) metallurgical lab methods.

Assessment methods

Examination in English can be arranged by previous contact with the teacher.

The final exam aims at assessing if the student learned how (i) to select metallic materials and treatments for producing mechanical components that work in a given service condition and how (ii) to identify the reasons for  malfunctioning related to material features.   

The exam consists of two parts: multiple choice test (30 questions, 4 options per question, 45 minutes) and open questions (2 questions, 60 minutes - the 2nd part will be oral in case of online exam). Total examination time: 1h 45 min. Examples of questions are available in the teaching material available in the VIRTUALE repository.

The student will access the second part of the exam (open questions) only if he/she achieves at least 18 correct answers in the first part (multiple choice test). Answers to multiple choice questions will be evaluated as follows:

  • +1 pt for each correct answer
  • 0 pt for each missing or wrong answer

The final grade will be calculated as average of the grade for each part.

Specific instruction on exam management (either online or offline) are available in VIRTUALE.

Textbooks and electronic devices are not allowed during the examination. The grade is expressed in /30.The minimum score for passing the exam is assigned if satisfactory knowledge of all the subjects  is assessed and there are no serious deficiencies.

Examinations schedule is available in advance on the University of Bologna web site AlmaEsami. Students willing to take the exam must join the student list on the web site AlmaEsami, carefully considering deadlines for student list opening and closing. Students are required to show their own ID before taking the exam.

Teaching tools

Classrooom lectures with both PC/slide projector and blackboard. Online lectors via Teams. Interactive sessions for learning assessment (no grading) via apps like Kahoot or via VIRTUALE. Students are encouraged to attend Metallurgy classes in order to improve their final learning outcomes. The course attendance is not mandatory and it does affect the final examination score. Visits to the Metallurgy research lab (equipment for metallographic preparation; optical and stereo microscopy with image analyser; hardness testers; tensile tester) are scheduled each year (depending on health and safety protocols).

Office hours

See the website of Carla Martini