1. A new material recently discovered is steel which is transparent, but which otherwise has all the properties of a normal steel. Find applications capable of exploiting this material, in the manufacture of
        (a)  an item suitable for popular consumption;  
        (b)  an expensive item which could be regarded as a work of art; 
        (c)  an expensive item which has tangible use; 
        (d)  an item which cannot otherwise be made. 
  2. Buckminsterfullerines are large carbon molecules with interesting topology. They can be in the form of, for example, footballs, tubes or baskets. Describe ways in which this kind of carbon might be exploited in the fields of:
                (a)  tribology; 
                (b)  catalysis; 
                (c)  alloying; 
                (d)  basic research. 
  3. A new device allows the high resolution (about 10 nm) measurement of elastic modulus. Discuss potential applications in materials technology and science.

  4. What are the chances of commercial success for each of the following products:
                (a)  perfume costing $2 per bottle; 
                (b)  breakfast Cola; 
                (c)  a neck-tie with a pocket for credit cards; 
                (d)  a credit card sized torch costing $4. 
  5. What could you invent with the knowledge that a transparent polymer strip clouds when overstretched?

  6. What are the costs of filing and defending a patent? What are the alternatives to patenting an invention?

  7. Are the following items subject to patent protection?
           (a)  the sound that a car door makes when it is closed; 
           (b)  nickel-base superalloys; 
           (c)  a mathematical formula which predicts whether  
                an alloy should exhibit reversible (shape memory)
                martensitic transformation. 
  8. A solid-state phase transformation is induced by the application of a stress at ambient temperature. What is the most economical experiment you could design to (a) measure the fraction of transformation as a function of the magnitude of tensile stress, the maximum value of which should be the ultimate tensile strength of the alloy; (b) measure the fraction of transformation as a function of the shear stress, the maximum value of which is kept below the shear yield strength?
  9. Most beer cans are cylinderical in shape.
       (a)  It would be a useful marketing ploy to manufacture 
            the cans in the traditional barrel shape. Discuss 
            how such cans could be made. 
       (b)  An alternative can design could be a hexagonal 
            cross-section in order to achieve a higher packing 
            density during transportation. 
            Discuss the merits of this proposition. 
  10. Suppose that the lattice parameter of iron could be doubled. Comment on possible changes in:
                (a) the physical properties and nature of iron; 
                (b) the commercial use of iron;  
                (c) the alloying behaviour of iron. 
  11. Ruthenium and osmium are iron analogues, in the sense that they lie in the same column of the periodic table and hence have identical valence electron structure. If ferritic iron was not ferromagnetic, its free energy would rise by such a large amount that it would no longer be the stable phase at room temperature. Instead, the hexagonal-closed packed form would persist at ambient temperatures. For ruthenium and osmium, the body-centered cubic structure is not ferromagnetic; their stable crystal structures at room temperature are indeed hexagonal.

  12. Suppose that iron could not exist in the ferritic state, but was hexagonal-closed packed in its crystal structure. What might be the consequences of this on the development of technology? Could anything else replace iron?

  13. What could you design with iron whose lattice parameter is doubled without changing its crystal structure?

  14. What could you make with porous steel?

  15. How would a material with negative strength respond to an externally applied stress?

  16. What would you see with a transmission electron microscope which achieved theoretical resolution (about 0.004 nm) ?

  17. What does a negative value of Charpy impact toughness imply?