Sample Exercises

Getting StartedThe samples offered here are representative of all SAMS modules. They are either identical or somewhat streamlined version of their full versions, but regardless, all are ready to be used in the classroom.

Each SAMS module deals with selected materials science and engineering topics. They are designed to be used in standard materials courses to provide a rich set of exercises that teach both the materials science and the use computers to solve materials problems, model materials processes, handle data from experiments and to present the results.

A typical SAMS module begins with an introduction of the topic that goes into enough depth to be able to support the student who is working the problems. The spreadsheet assignments are given at the end of each module, beginning with the simpler exercises and progressing to more sophisticated ones, some of which will build on and possibly even rely on the results of previous exercises. All of these exercises can be done in the classroom and as homework assignments. Following these are one or more project-scale exercises that can be done in laboratory sessions where more time is available and where the students can work in teams, or as a part of term projects. When all this work is done the student will have a useful and interactive set of spreadsheets that not only demonstrate a full and coherent understanding of the topic but can also, much like any computer program, be used in future courses and assignments.

Startup Icon Getting Started - Two documents are offered here. One is a spreadsheet exercise designed to help a student learn the basics of using spreadsheets to do the types of exercises described below. The other is simply a list of suggestions to help the student be more successful in doing the SAMS exercises and producing a spreadsheet that can be easily read and understood by other people.
NaCl Glyph Ionic Bonding - In this exercise the students model ionic bonding of an NaCl-type structure. This includes calculating and plotting the lattice energies and forces as a function of atomic spacing, and then analyzing the results to determine the equilibrium lattice energy and atomic spacing. In addition, several of the physical properties that are closely tied to bonding are examined.  (This is an abbreviate version of the full ionic bonding module.)
Reflection analogy X-ray Diffraction - This exercise asks the student to import and analyze the data from an actual x-ray powder diffractometer scan. The analysis ends with their identifying the substance in terms of its structure and atomic radii. (A more advanced version of this module is available. In it the student does these calculations for any crystal system calculates the structure factor rather than relying simply on the reflection rules, and examines other details that determine the intensity of the diffracted x-rays.)
Brass Grain Growth - This exercise is based on an experiment looking at the grain growth kinetics of the C26000 alloy (70/30 brass). In it, the students lay the groundwork for doing an experiment by first modeling ideal grain growth. With this foundation in place, they then analyze the data from an actual laboratory experiment.