Dissemination of IT for the Promotion of Materials Science (DoITPoMS)

DoITPoMS TLP Library

TLP Library

Teaching and learning packages (TLPs) are self-contained, interactive resources, each focusing on one area of Materials Science.

TLPs containing HTML5 animations/simulations are labelled with the tag . We have found that often the HTML5 animations render better in Microsoft Edge, so if your favourite browser does not work very well with them, please try an alternative.

Introduction To Anisotropy

It is common in basic analysis to treat bulk materials as isotropic - their properties are independent of the direction in which they are measured. However the atomic scale structure can result in properties that vary with direction. This teaching and learning package (TLP) looks into typical examples of such anisotropy and gives a brief mathematical look into modelling the behaviour.

Bending and Torsion of Beams

This teaching and learning package provides an introduction to the mechanics of beam bending and torsion, looking particularly at the bending of cantilever and free-standing beams and the torsion of cylindrical bars.


This TLP introduces a number of important processes through which metallic items can be fabricated from molten metal. As well as detailing the practical aspects of these manufacturing processes, attention is given to the important parameters which determine the microstructure of the finished items.

Coating Mechanics

This TLP should provide some insights into the mechanics of bi-layer (coating on substrate) systems. It covers the concept of a misfit strain and the way in which equilibrium is established after its introduction, including the creation of curvature. The differences between "thin" and "thick" coating cases are explained.

Creep Deformation of Metals

Creep is a major concern, since it can cause materials to progressively deform, and possibly to fail, under applied stresses below their yield stress. This is particularly likely at elevated temperatures. In this package, the main mechanisms of creep are outlined and some analytical expressions presented that are used to represent its progression. Testing procedures are described, covering both simple uniaxial loading and more complex test geometries. It is shown how creep characteristics can be inferred from the outcome of such tests, requiring in some cases numerical (finite element) modelling of the process. Information is also presented about the design of highly creep-resistant materials.

Deformation of Honeycombs and Foams

Highly porous materials, such as honeycombs, foams and fibrous structures, are an important class of material in both synthetic and biological systems. They are used in many different ways, but their mechanical behaviour is often of great importance as they are pressed, bent, sat on or chewed. An important class of these materials can be considered as made up of cells, so-called cellular structures. Here we describe how these materials deform, elastically and irreversibly.


An introduction to the mechanisms and driving forces of diffusion, and some of the processes in which it is observed.

Elasticity in Biological Materials

This teaching and learning package (TLP) discusses the elasticity of biological materials. Whilst some show Hookean elasticity, the vast majority do not. Non-linear elasticity is considered, in particular J-shaped and S-shaped curves. Viscoelasticity is also discussed, using hair and spiders' silk as examples.


Electromigration is an ever-increasing problem as integrated circuits are pushed towards further miniaturization. The theory of the phenomenon is explained, including electromigration-induced failure and how it has been and can be minimized.

Mechanics of Fibre-reinforced Composites

This teaching and learning package (TLP) gives an introduction to the nature of fibre-reinforced composite materials and their basic mechanical characteristics.

Introduction To Photoelasticity

This tutorial is based on lab work within the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy at the University of Cambridge. The tutorial provides an introduction to the topic of photoelasticity and preparation for lab work. Photographs illustrate many features of birefringence in polymers under polarised light.

Solidification of Alloys

This teaching and learning package (TLP) is an introduction to how solute affects the solidification of metallic alloys.

Superelasticity and Shape Memory Alloys

This teaching and learning package (TLP) introduces the phenomena of superelasticity and the shape memory effect.

Thermal Expansion and the Bi-material Strip

This teaching and learning package (TLP) is based on lab work in the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy at the University of Cambridge. The TLP provides an introduction to the topic of thermal expansion, and its application, together with the different stiffness of materials, in the bi-material strip. The TLP leads you through experiments to measure Youngs Modulus from the deflection of a cantilever beam, and to estimate the boiling temperature of nitrogen and the expansivity of a polycarbonate material from the curvature of a bi-material strip immersed in liquid nitrogen.