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Materials Electives

Suggested Courses for ME Students Interested in Materials

Technical Electives

Mechanical Engineering majors must complete 12 credits of tech electives; no more than 3 credits can be used from List #2.  ME majors are required to complete at least 6 credits of 3000- or higher level ME or NSEG electives.  

Be sure to consult the graduation checksheet for the year in which you entered Virginia Tech for to see a full list of approved technical electives and the rules for technical elective selection. Please see the Timetable of Classes for course availability, which can change without warning.  Most technical electives are taught no more than once per year.

List #1 Technical Electives

MSE/ESM 3054– Mechanical Behavior of Materials (3 credits) - Fall and Spring
Note: This course is a prerequisite to many of the other courses on this list, so it is highly recommended that you take this course first so you have more options later on. (Can take this lecture without the lab.)
Mechanical properties and behavior of engineering materials subjected to static, dynamic, creep, and fatigue loads under environments and stress states typical of service conditions; biaxial theories of failure; behavior of cracked bodies; microstructure-property relationships and design methodologies for homogeneous and composite materials. Pre: ESM 2204, MSE 2034 or MSE 2044 or MSE 3094 or AOE 3094 or CEE 3684.

MSE/ESM 3064: Mechanical Behavior of Materials & Lab (1 credit) - Fall and Spring
Note: Cannot take lab without lecture (MSE/ESM 3054)
Laboratory experiments on behavior and mechanical properties of solid materials. Tension, compression, bending, hardness, nano-indentation, and impact tests; behavior of cracked bodies; fatigue and crack growth tests; creep deformation; microstructure-property relationships; laboratory equipment, instrumentation, and computers. Co: MSE 3054.

MSE 4384: Nuclear Materials (3 credits) - Fall only.
Note: May be taught online.
An introduction to materials for nuclear applications with emphasis on fission reactors. Fundamental radiation effects on materials; material properties relevant to structural, moderator, reflector, blanket, coolant, control shielding and safety systems; processes such as nuclear fuel cycles, fuel enrichment and reprocessing; and related structural systems. Pre: (MSE3044 or ME 3304), (MSE 3054 or ESM 3054 or ME 3614/3624).

MSE/ESM 4574 – Biomaterials (3 credits) - Spring only
Materials for biomedical applications. Basic material types and properties, functional uses of materials in medical applications, and tissue response mechanisms. Integrated design issues of multicomponent material design in prosthetic devices for hard and soft tissues, orthopedics , cardiovascular, and drug delivery applications. Pre: MSE 3054 or ESM 3054.

MSE4604 – Composite Materials (3 credits) -  Spring only
The application of the fundamental concepts of mechanics, elasticity, and plasticity to multiphase and composite materials. Constitutive equations for the mechanical and physical properties of metal, ceramic, and polymeric matrix composites. The role of processing and microstructure on properties. Pre: MSE 2034 or MSE 2044, ESM 2204.

MSE 4634 – Design with Materials (3 credits)  *Offered every other year. See timetable for current offerings.*
The role and implications of material properties, processing, and structure in engineering and/or functional design. The role of material selection in the conceptualization, specification, and implementation phases of the design process. Case studies in state-of-the-art, material-limiting component design. Multidisciplinary enrollment encouraged. Co: senior capstone experience or permission of the instructor.

ESM 4044 – Mechanics of Composite Materials (3 credits) - Fall only
Introduction to the deformation, stress, and strength analysis of continuous-fiber-polymer-matrix laminated composites. Fabrication, micromechanics of stiffness and expansional coefficients, classical lamination theory (CLT). Environmentally induced stresses. Computerized implementation and design. Pre: ESM 2204. Cross listed with CEE 4610.

ME 4854 - Nano & Micromechanics of Materials (3 credits) - Fall only
Analysis of microstructural mechanics, crystal structures, defects, and dislocations. Mechanical behavior of crystalline materials at the microscale. Computational modeling of mechanical behavior in discrete atomistic and molecular systems, including molecular dynamics. Application of these methods to polymers and other soft materials, biological materials, carbon-based materials, and metallic alloys. Pre: ESM2204.

ME 4864 - Nicro/Nano Robotics (3 credits) - Spring only
Overview of Micro/Nano-robotic systems. Physics of reduced length scales (scaling effects in the physical parameters, surface forces, contact mechanics, and Micro/Nano-scale dynamical phenomena), Basics of Micro/Nano-manufacturing, microfabrication and soft lithography, Biomimetic design strategies for mobile micro-robots, Principle of transduction, material properties and characteristics of Micro/Nano-actuators (piezoelectric, shape-memory alloy, and a variety of MEMS and polymer actuators), Control requirements and challenges of Micro/Nano-actuators, Micro/Nano sensors for mobile microrobotic applications, Micro/Nano-manipulation (scanning probe microscopy, operation principles, designing experiments for nanoscale mechanical characterization of desired samples). Pre: MATH2214, ME3414, and ESM2204.

PHYS 4574 – Nanotechnology (3 credits) - Spring only
Introduction to methods of controlling matter on the nanometer length scale and the applications thereof. Nanolithography, self-assembly, and scanned probe microscopy; nanomaterials including fullereness, carbon nanotubes, and quantum dots; nanoscale and molecular electronics; nanoelectromechanical systems; nanoscale optoelectronics; and nanobiotechnology. Pre: PHYS 2305 and PHYS 2306.