Introduction to Physical Metallurgy

The course aims to provide a general introduction to the field of physical metallurgy.

Monday 4 - Friday 8 February 2019

The course

The course covers equilibrium phase diagrams, transformation diagrams, diffusion, liquid to solid transformations, ferrous and nonferrous materials, cold work, recovery and recrystallisation.

For queries about this course

Jenna Flint,Short Course Administrator

Provisional syllabus

Please note that we reserve the right to alter the syllabus. Any major changes will be notified to delegates before the course starts.

Course overview

Module overview

The module provides a systematic overview of the major principles of physical metallurgy. Students successfully completing the module will have a critical awareness of how these principles relate to current issues in exploiting structural alloys in engineering applications.

Module aims

This module aims to explore:

  • The centrality of the concepts of thermodynamics and kinetics in physical metallurgy and phase transformations
  • Binary equilibrium phase diagrams as a tool in understanding the thermodynamics of alloy systems
  • The use of transformation (isothermal and continuous cooling) diagrams as a tool in following (i) the kinetics of phase transformations and (ii) the development of alloy microstructure
  • The role of diffusion in the kinetics of phase transformations
  • The principles of thermodynamics and kinetics, and their application, to a representative selection of real alloy systems
  • The nature of defects in metallic systems and their role in determining engineering properties
  • The concept of microstructure and its relationship to processing and properties of alloys.

Learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of the module, students should be able to:

  • Show a systematic understanding of the role that thermodynamics and kinetics play in phase transformations
  • Evaluate critically the relevance of phase diagrams, isothermal transformation diagrams and continuous cooling transformation diagrams to understanding real alloys and their microstructure
  • Display a critical awareness of the relevance of key areas, e.g. diffusion, defects, transformation type, to current problems in designing, processing and exploiting real alloys
  • Show a systematic understanding of the complex interplay between microstructure, processing and engineering properties in metallic materials.

Module content

  • The thermodynamic basis of phase diagrams
  • Binary equilbrium phase diagrams and their use in predicting alloy constitution and microstructure
  • Isothermal and continuous cooling transformation diagrams and their use in predicting microstructure
  • Characterisation of microstructures
  • Solid-state diffusion
  • The liquid to solid transformation
  • Precipitation in the solid state
  • The classification of phase transformations as diffusional and displacive
  • The pearlitic, bainitic and martensitic transformations
  • Selected steels
  • High strength aluminium alloys
  • Titanium and its alloys
  • Microstructure, processing and property relationships (with an emphasis on ambient temperature strengthening mechanisms)
  • Point, line and planar lattice defects
  • Micro and macro defects
  • Cold work, recovery, recrystallisation and grain growth
  • The role of dislocations in strengthening mechanisms.

Further information


This is a week long course, from Monday 4 - Friday 8 February 2019.


Price per person is £1600.

If you use our 3 for 2 offer and book on three delegates to this course, then the price will be £3200.

How to apply

Payment can be accepted by purchase order, credit card or bank transfer on our online store.

Please note that we do not charge VAT as we are an educational establishment.

Required reading

Extensive course notes are supplied.

The recommended reading books are:

Smallman, RE and Ngan, AHW,
Physical Metallurgy and Advanced Materials, 8th ed, Butterworth-Heinemann, 2013. (ISBN 978-0080982045)

Recommended background reading

The library has a wide range of textbooks that support the Introduction to Physical Metallurgy curriculum, including:

Ashby MF and Jones DRH,
Engineering Materials 2: An Introduction to Microstructures, Processing and Design,
4th ed, Butterworth-Heinemann, 2012 ( ISBN 978-0080966687)
Polmear I,
Light Alloys: From Traditional Alloys to Nanocrystals. Elsevier Limited; 4th ed (2005).  (ISBN 978-0750663717)
Porter DA, Easterling KE and Sherif M,
Phase Transformations in Metals and Alloys, 3rd ed, CRC Press, 2009. (ISBN 978-1420062106)

Course Director

The Course Director is Dr Mark Whiting.

Physical metallurgy brochure

(3.0 MB .PDF)


Contact us

Find us

Department of Mechanical Engineering Sciences
University of Surrey