George A. Roberts, PhD

Materials Science & Engineering Lab

The Materials Science Lab is where students break things educationally. By observing and measuring the manner in which materials fail, students develop an understanding of how materials behave and of how failures can be avoided. Also, students learn how different forms of processing can alter material behavior.

Mechanical engineering students have two courses in the Materials Science & Engineering Lab:


Materials and Solids Lab in their sophomore year which focuses on the mechanical behavior of materials. Students see ...

  • concepts of stress and strain in experiments that reinforce the concurrent lecture topics, both in torsion and in pure tension on two different machines;
  • work with a plastic I-beam in this course, as well as a pressure vessel;
  • and learn about measurement of strain and of force, and the differences between ductile and brittle failure.

 Materials Science Lab taken in their junior year where the focus is more on the properties of materials and how changing these properties changes the observed behavior.  Students will ....

  • work with specimens that have been annealed in the furnaces in the lab to demonstrate the effects of permanent deformation on materials;
  • test impact energy of different materials, identifying the temperature at which a common steel becomes brittle;
  • perform basic heat treatments on specimens, seeing the differences caused by heat treatment in impact energy and in surface hardness;
  • and lastly, students weld steel specimens and observe the resulting changes in the grain structure as well as the failure in simple tension as well as repeated fatigue loading.

Materials Science Lab equipment includes:

  • Tinius-Olsen Super-L tensile tester 
  • Tinius-Olsen S-1000-2B extensometer
  • Tinius-Olsen M1000 tensile tester 
  • Tinius-Olsen Lo-Torq torsion tester 
  • Thermolyne 48000 furnace
  • Huppert Deluxe furnace 
  • Wilson 5YR RB Rockwell hardness tester 
  • Wilson 4 JS superficial Rockwell hardness tester 
  • Leco M-400A hardness tester 
  • Nikon 6501 shadow comparator
  • Unimet Unitron 7307 optical microscope 

Materials Sciences Lab

  • Z-Corporation Z402 3D printer (pictured)
  • Dimension UPring 3D printer
  • Instron fatigue tester
  • Satec SF-10 fatigue tester 
  • Tinus-Olsen impact tester (Charpy/Izod) 
  • Vishay Micro-measurements P-3500 strain indicator 
  • Vishay Micro-measurements P3 strain indicator 
  • Vishay Micro-measurements SB-10 switch and balance unit 
  • Soldering irons 
  • Isomet low-speed saw
  • Leco Spectrum 1000 polishing system 
  • Labonco Protector laboratory fume hood