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Unit of study_

CIVL1110: Materials

Intensive February, 2022 [Normal day] - Remote

Materials are an important part of the civil engineers' work. Indeed, civil engineers who are concerned with the design, construction, and maintenance of facilities need to understand the behaviour and performance of the materials used. And as it happens, mechanical properties- which are essential and basic for civil engineers- are highly dependent on the structure of materials at various scales. Therefore, it is important that a student in Civil Engineering possesses a fundamental knowledge in materials science. This unit of study aims to provide students with the tools necessary to select the adequate material for a particular application and to assess its mechanical behaviour while in use. This unit will focus mainly on materials for civil engineering and construction applications, i.e. metals, concrete and soils.

Unit details and rules

Unit code CIVL1110
Academic unit Civil Engineering
Credit points 6
AMME1362 or CIVL2110
Assumed knowledge

CIVL1802 (or equivalent)

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Mohammad Saadatfar,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Online task Quiz 1
Online quiz during class
15% Week 02 40 min
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO4 LO5
Online task Quiz 2
Online quiz during class
15% Week 03 40 min
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO5 LO4
Online task Quiz 3
Online quiz during class
15% Week 04 40 min
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO5 LO4
Online task Quiz 4
Online quiz during class
15% Week 06 40 min
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO5 LO4
Final exam (Open book) Type C final exam hurdle task Final exam
MCQ & extended response questions
40% Week 07
Due date: 04 Mar 2022 at 12:00
1.5 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
hurdle task = hurdle task ?
Type C final exam = Type C final exam ?

Assessment summary

  • Quiz: 4 quizzes of 40 min each during class sessions and will remain open for four hours. Closed book and only the three best  marks for the quizzes will count towards the final mark.
  • Take home exam : The individual assignment is composed of different problems to test the basic understanding of new concepts and the application of these concepts in engineering related problems.
  • Final exam: The exam tests students’ understanding of the relations between structure and mechanical properties. To pass this unit of study, students are required to obtain at least 45% at their final exam.

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1). As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.


High Distinction

85% – 100%

The student shows a clear understanding of all the concepts taught in class and is able to use them to select materials for different applications. The lab report is at the level of professional documents and includes complex critical comments with extended justification. The student’s mark at the final exam is at least 45%.


75% - 84%

The student shows a clear understanding of all the concepts taught in class and is able to use them to select materials for some applications. The lab report is well written and includes coherent critical comments with substantial justification. The student’s mark at the final exam is at least 45%.


65% - 74%

The student shows a clear understanding of most of the concepts taught in class and is able to use them to limited extent to material selection. The lab report is complete, well presented and applies some of the concepts seen in class to the laboratory experiments. The student’s mark at the final exam is at least 45%.


50% - 64%

The student understands most of the concepts taught in class and can use them in simple problems. The student fails to see the connection between material structures and properties and is unable to determine material selection criteria. The student is however able to select a material once the selection criteria have been established independently. The lab report addresses the major aspects of the laboratory but contains some style and expression errors. The student’s mark at the final exam is at least 45%.


The student does not meet the passing criteria.


To pass this unit of study, students are required to obtain at least 45% at their final exam. Any student with a mark below 45% at the final exam will automatically fail the course and their mark for this UoS will be 45/100.

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

This unit has an exception to the standard University policy or supplementary information has been provided by the unit coordinator. This information is displayed below:

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Introduction to the course; Atomic structure; Crystallography; Solidification and Imperfections Lecture and tutorial (5 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4
Week 02 Diffusion; Mechanical Properties Lecture and tutorial (5 hr) LO3 LO4
Week 03 Mechanical Properties; Strengthening mechanisms Lecture and tutorial (5 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 04 Strengthening mechanisms; Fracture Mechanics Lecture and tutorial (5 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 05 Fatigue and creep Lecture and tutorial (5 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 06 Phase diagram; Materials for construction: steels Lecture and tutorial (5 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

All readings for this unit can be accessed through the Library eReserve, available on Canvas.

  • Foundations of Materials Science and Engineering by William Smith, Javad Hashemi, Materials (CIVL5501 & CIVL2210) prepared by G. Proust (Special edition for UoS CIVL5501 and CIVL2210)


Reference Books

- Engineering Materials 1 –An Introduction to Properties, Applications & Design, 3rd ed MF Ashby & DRH Jones

- Engineering Materials 2 –An Introduction to Microstructures, Processing & Design 3rd ed MF Ashby & DRH Jones

- Introduction to Materials Science for Engineers, Second Edition, by JF Shackelford

- Foundations of Materials Science and Engineering, 5ed, by Smith & Hashemi, Mc Graw-Hill, 2010

- Civil Engineering Materials, Fifth edition. by N. Jackson and RK Dihr

- Construction Materials – Their nature and behaviour, 3rd ed, by JM Ullstone and PLJ Domone

- Concrete: Microstructure, Properties and Materials, 3rd ed, by P. Kumar Mehta and Paulo J.M. Monteiro, 2006

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Design a presentation using powerpoint and write a lab report
  • LO2. Select the correct material for an application and appreciate the repercussions of an incorrect selection
  • LO3. Comprehend the relations between the structure of materials and their mechanical properties
  • LO4. Apply basic materials concepts relative to materials structures
  • LO5. Describe and utilise mechanical concepts such as stress, strain, elasticity, plasticity, fracture, fatigue and creep that will be used in other units of study in Civil Engineering.
  • LO6. Become familiar with microscopy methods associated with materials engineering.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

No changes have been made since this unit was last offered


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