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Syllabus for

Academic year
MMK081 - Materials characterisation and failure analysis
Syllabus adopted 2009-02-23 by Head of Programme (or corresponding)
Owner: MPAEM
7,5 Credits
Grading: TH - Five, Four, Three, Not passed
Education cycle: Second-cycle
Major subject: Mechanical Engineering

Teaching language: English

Course module   Credit distribution   Examination dates
Sp1 Sp2 Sp3 Sp4 Summer course
0198 Examination 7,5c Grading: TH   7,5c   18 Oct 2010 pm M,  10 Jan 2011 am M,  Contact examiner

In programs



Docent  Johan Ahlström

Course evaluation:


For single subject courses within Chalmers programmes the same eligibility requirements apply, as to the programme(s) that the course is part of.

Course specific prerequisites

Basic courses in Materials Science and Engineering.


The course aims at improving the knowledge about modern analytical
techniques and testing methods used to assess materials structure and
behaviour. It also intends to give insight in the application of these
techniques to examine material related failures of components and technical

Learning outcomes (after completion of the course the student should be able to)

  • Describe the basics of the most important methods and techniques used in materials testing and characterisation.
  • Apply some of these methods in practical failure analysis to identify the potential causes for failure.
  • Analyse and communicate methodology and conclusions from investigations published in scientific literature.
  • Describe the basic aspects and failure mechanisms related to mechanical loading (e.g. fatigue) and chemical impact (e.g. corrosion).


Methods and techniques addressed within the course are as follows:
  • methodology of failure analysis
  • mechanical testing (tensile, bend, hardness, toughness, fatigue)
  • optical microscopy (including computer-assisted image analysis)
  • electron microscopy (SEM with EDX)
  • surface analysis (AES or XPS)
  • non-destructive testing

The aim is to communicate how material-related failure and malfunction of components and systems can be identified and explained. The course is thus rather oriented on the application and use of specific technique than the basic theory behind it. Problems that are addressed include for example how fracture has occurred, how the appearance of fracture surfaces can be interpreted, how measured material properties shall be judged and correlated with the behaviour of the material in use, what testing methods and analytical techniques should be chosen and how the overall problem shall be attacked in a systematic way.


The course includes both lectures and problem-oriented laboratory work where the students will have training in problem solving concerning failure of materials. Through the course it is intended that the participants will gain basic insight concerning failure analysis and the application of modern materials characterisation techniques in this context.


ASM handbook and other electronic sources, handouts and lecture notes.


Written examination.
All laboratory sessions attended and reported.

Published: Mon 28 Nov 2016.