A Day in the Life of a Metallurgy and Materials Student

Amanda and Carmel show you their typical day as a Metallurgy and Materials student.


Amanda: Hi, I’m Amanda. 

Carmel: And I’m Carmel. We’re both second year students studying Materials Engineering at the University of Birmingham. 

Amanda: We’re just off for lectures now. In the second year we usually have around eleven hours of lectures a week, plus labs and tutorials. 

Carmel: It usually takes us fifteen minutes to walk to our department from Selly Oak.

Amanda: Do you know what’s happening in the lecture today? 

Carmel: I think we’re doing polymer extrusion. We have a small year group so we get a lot of interaction with our lecturers. Stephen, may I please ask a question? 

Lecturer: Yes, of course Carmel. 

Carmel: If you have any problems, you can bring them up with your personal tutor in your weekly meetings or follow up after the lecturers. 

Amanda: Shall we head off to labs then? This is the Sharpie Impact test machine. It's used to measure the impact toughness of a material. The impact toughness of a material changes with temperature so often these tests are conducted using liquid nitrogen. 

Carmel: Our department has a foundry. In the first year we get shown different metals being cast. This is what casting steel looks like. 

Amanda: We also have access to up to date manufacturing facilities which help reinforce what we’ve learnt in lectures. One example of this is the net shaping lab which is used to produce components with a reduced need for final machining and surface finishing. 

Carmel:  This is 3D printing, an additive manufacturing process. Based on a computer model, layers of polymer pellets are progressively melted, laid down and cured to produce a custom solid object.

Amanda: At the end of the day we often go for a drink or a meal. Most Mondays we head to the pub for a quiz. 

Carmel: One of my favourite things about the department is that I’m good friends with all of my course mates, so we socialise a lot outside of our lectures. If I ever have any problems with the course, I have many people I can ask for help.