GE1340 - Materials, Civilization and Modern Development

Offering Academic Unit
Department of Mechanical Engineering
Credit Units
Course Duration
One Semester
GE Area
Area 3: Science and Technology
Course Offering Term*:
Semester B 2021/22
Semester B 2022/23 (Tentative)

* The offering term is subject to change without prior notice
Course Aims

Human civilization has been classified as Stone Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age, and Silicon Age.  In essence, it is based on the control of fire or temperature in processing materials for quality improvement of human life.  The success of materials applications has impacted the well-being of people.  Examples in clothing, food processing (which can also be studied under materials science), housing, and transportation are ubiquitous. Sword making, musical instrument, china, and lithographic printing, etc., have all impacted the development of our advanced civilization.  While the above examples are focusing on the technological advancements, Art Nouveau was an example of success of materials manipulation by artists.  On the other hand, the sinking of Titanic and the collapse of World Trade Center are very sad events in human history due to steel failure at low and high temperatures, respectively.  The evolution of mobility solutions (airplane, car and train) will be introduced. Silicon technology is playing a significant role in our IT-based society, which is affecting our daily life significantly. The cost of making one transistor on a silicon chip nowadays is even cheaper than the printing of one alphabet on a newspaper.  Today, the world is facing the task of sustainable development, the success of which hinges on the R&D in materials science that can support the needed new technologies. In this course, the historical trends of materials processing and development, the basic physical properties of materials, the challenge in applications of new materials, and the future of materials in sustainable development will be covered.  In this course, students will be guided into the amazing world of “MATERIALS” by a series of lectures and carry out a group project. 

Assessment (Indicative only, please check the detailed course information)

Continuous Assessment: 70%
Examination: 30%
Examination Duration: 2 hours
Detailed Course Information


Useful Links

Department of Mechanical Engineering