UNDERSTANDING MATERIALS SCIENCE AND IMPROVING THE EXIT SKILLS OF FUTURE ENGINEERS

N. Gabilondo, A. Retegi, M.A. Corcuera, A. Eceiza

University of the Basque Country (SPAIN)
Materials Science is taught in the second course of the Degree of Engineering, and is common for the Mechanical, Electrical and Industrial Electronic and Automatics programs.

The students of this second course have attended the subject 'Fundamentals of Chemistry' in the first course and the concretion of a number of competencies achieved in this subject is one of the objectives of the subject Materials Science.

Once the atomic structure is understood and the interatomic linkages and major interactions are learned, the course is focused on the different solid materials that result from the combination of the main elements. Atomic and molecular structure of materials used in engineering are studied and the analysis of the relationships between structure of materials and their mechanical, thermal, electrical, corrosion and radiation properties, together with examples of specific application to engineering problems is conducted.

The main difficulty that our students usually present is that related to the comprehension of the inherent relationship between the atomic (even subatomic) configuration and the macroscopic behaviour of the solid materials. The complete knowledge of the insides of the solid is absolutely necessary to be able firstly to predict the response of the material and then to modify it.

Hereby we present the work carried out with students of the course Materials Science, introducing active and collaborative methodologies with the aim of improve their exit skills. The work involves the use of group work, rather than traditional individual learning, by designing appropriate problem-solving strategy.