Universitat Internacional de Catalunya

Advanced Materials and Material Selection

Advanced Materials and Material Selection
First semester
Main language of instruction: Spanish

Other languages of instruction: Catalan, English

Teaching staff

Appointments for face-to-face tutorials, both to resolve doubts about theoretical or practical aspects of the subject and to prepare individual assignments are organized by e-mail ecastro@uic.es / xavier.gil@uic.cat, giving priority to consultations at the times agreed with the professor at the beginning of the academic year (Wednesdays from 9:00 to 10:00).


Technological innovations are often the result of the intelligent use of advanced materials, but also many disasters in bioengineering are caused by their misuse. That is why it is vital that the professional bioengineer knows how to select the materials which adjust to the demands of a particular design; that is, considering economic, aesthetic, environmental, regulatory, resistance or durability demands.  The bioengineer must understand the properties of the materials and their limitations.

Pre-course requirements

Subjects: Materials, Biomaterials and biocompatibility.


• To know advanced materials with special applications in the area of
• To promote a positive and open attitude towards new materials.
• To understand the basic principles involved in the selection of materials by establishing methodologies (design, costs, functionality, role of the specifications, and quality demand by the industry) that allow the selection of the ideal material for each particular application.


  • CB2 - Students must know how to apply their knowledge to their work or vocation in a professional way and have the competences that are demonstrated through the creation and defence of arguments and the resolution of problems within their field of study.
  • CB3 - Students must have the ability to bring together and interpret significant data (normally within their area of study) and to issue judgements that include a reflection on important issues that are social, scientific or ethical in nature.
  • CB4 - Students can transmit information, ideas, problems and solutions to specialist and non-specialist audiences.
  • CE17 - To be able to identify the engineering concepts that can be applied in the fields of biology and health.
  • CE19 - To know how to select and apply material based on its properties and electric, magnetic, mechanical and chemical behaviour
  • CE6 - To incorporate the foundations of science and materials technology, while taking into account the relationship between microstructure, synthesis or process and the properties of materials.
  • CE9 - To apply the basic foundations of elasticity and the resistance of materials to the behaviour of actual volumes.
  • CG1 - To undertake projects in the field of Bioengineering that aim to achieve a concept and a design, as well as manufacture prosthetics and orthotics that are specific to a certain pathology or need.
  • CG4 - To resolve problems based on initiative, be good at decision-making, creativity, critical reasoning and communication, as well as the transmission of knowledge, skills and prowess in the field of Bioengineering
  • CG7 - To analyse and evaluate the social and environmental impact of technical solutions
  • CT2 - The ability to link welfare with globalisation and sustainability; to acquire the ability to use skills, technology, the economy and sustainability in a balanced and compatible manner.
  • CT3 - To know how to communicate learning results to other people both verbally and in writing, and well as thought processes and decision-making; to participate in debates in each particular specialist areas.
  • CT5 - To use information sources in a reliable manner. To manage the acquisition, structuring, analysis and visualisation of data and information in your specialist area and critically evaluate the results of this management.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, the student:

  • Know the fundamentals of science and technology of material. It includes the relationship between microstructure, synthesis or processing and the properties of the materials.
  • Discern and relate the structure of materials with their properties and applications. 
  • Interiorize, understand and give explanations related to the selection of materials, their conformation, their treatment, coatings and modes of use.
  • Select the most suitable material for each application in bioengineering.
  • Writes technical reports and makes technical oral presentations related to them.
  • Find useful information and use it autonomously.
  • Learn to design materials with specific requirements that can mimic the tissues of the human body.
  • Learn the possible fields of action of bioengineers outside the medical field.


  1. Introduction to the electrical properties of materials. Ohm's law and electrical conductivity. Conductors, insulators and dielectrics. Conductivity of metals and alloys. Intrinsic and extrinsic semiconductors. Dependence of conductivity on temperature. Superconducting materials. Piezoelectricity and ferroelectricity.
  2. Introduction to the magnetic properties of materials. Effect of temperature on magnetic behavior. Magnetization, permeability and magnetic field. Magnetic domains and hysteresis cycle. Classification of magnetic materials: soft and hard magnetic materials. Diamagnetic, paramagnetic, ferromagnetic, ferrimagnetic and superparamagnetic materials. Curie temperature. Metallic and ceramic magnetic materials.
  3. Introduction to the optical properties of materials. The electromagnetic spectrum. Interaction of light with solids. Optical properties of metals and non-metals. Refraction, absorption, reflection and transmission of light. Color. Luminescence. Opacity and transparency of insulators.
  4. Introduction to the thermal properties of materials. Heat capacity and specific heat. Thermal expansion. Thermal conductivity. Thermal stresses. Thermal shock.

  1. Structure of metallic alloys. Interpretation of phase diagrams. Phases. Phase diagram of a component. Solubility limit. Two-component phase diagram. The iron-carbon system. Invariant reactions: eutectoid and peritectic. Lever rule. Ternary phase diagrams.
  2. Ferrous alloys. Carbon steels. Stainless steels. Iron-iron carbide phase diagram and development of microstructures in steels. Influence of other alloying elements. Heat treatment of carbon steels.
  3. Non-ferrous alloys. Light alloys: aluminum, magnesium, beryllium and titanium alloys. Copper, nickel, cobalt and zinc alloys.
  4. Introduction to ceramic materials. Structure of ceramics. General properties and applications of ceramics. Traditional ceramics. Advanced or technical ceramics: oxides, silicates, carbides and nitrides. Calcium phosphates. Zeolites and mesoporous materials. Glass and glass fibers. Glass ceramics. Carbon-based materials: graphitic materials and carbon fibers.
  5. Introduction to composite materials. Structure, properties and applications of reinforced plastics. Composite material constituents: matrix and dispersed phase. Classification of composite materials. Metal matrix composites. Ceramic matrix composites. Fiber and particle reinforced composites. Laminar composite materials. Sandwich structures.

  1. Functional materials. Functional classification of materials. Glass and metallic foams.
  2. Smart materials. Shape memory alloys.
  3. Hybrid materials. Biomimetic and bioactive materials.
  4. Introduction to nanomaterials. Carbon-based nanomaterials: Fullerenes, carbon nanotubes and graphene.

  1. The life of the material. The design process. Stages of the design process: translation, filtering, classification and documentation.
  2. The materials selection process. Relationship of the selection of materials with the design.
  3. Relationship of the properties of materials with their structure. Service conditions.

  1. Economic considerations in the selection of materials. Component design. Economics of materials. Cost estimation with GRANTA EduPack.
  2. Environmental considerations in materials selection. Recycling aspects in materials science and engineering. Bioplastics. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). Eco Audit with GRANTA EduPack: Embedded energy and carbon footprint. Ecodesign. Introduction to OpenLCA free software. Real cases of ecodesign.

  1. Information management and decision making in materials selection. Functions, objectives and constraints.
  2. Databases on material properties: MatWeb.
  3. Ashby charts. Design constrained by material properties.
  4. Commercial software: GRANTA EduPack.
  5. Index of material performance.
  6. Study cases of material selection: Total hip prosthesis and suture anchors.

Teaching and learning activities

In person

Active teaching methodologies in small groups such as the case method, problem-based learning (ABP), computer simulation, classroom gamification, flipped classroom, Peer instruction, etc. The theory classes will be an introduction to the different topics discussed, to make available to the student everything related to the materials used in advanced bioengineering. The classes considered practical will be eminently problem solving and study of practical cases of selection and application of advanced materials in the field of bioengineering. The practices will be to search for information and applications of specific advanced materials.

In theory and practice classes, the use of information and communication technologies (ICT), such as audiovisual media (videos, computer presentations, ...), is offered when this improves the clarity of class exposure, and the use of the virtual campus in Moodle will be promoted as the main way to manage student work, communicate with them, distribute study material, etc. During the course, students will be asked to complete the following training activities:

Peer Instruction - Short questions thrown by the teacher at the beginning or end of the virtual or face-to-face class on the subject being treated in the subject at that time to which students must answer individually through a forum of Question and Answer (Q&A) evaluable enabled for it in Moodle, in such a way that among the students cooperatively construct the correct answer to the short question (which may fall in the examination of the subject) - the teacher will indicate the answers of those students That they are correct and this will allow them to score points for the evaluation of active participation.

Modelling (Do it yourself - DIY) - Construction of models and models in a group, during a practical seminar-type classroom, allowing students to learn by doing (such as a materials cube) in a Lego Serious Play type learning methodology. Once the model or model has been built, students will be asked to use that model or model to carry out an activity that allows them to deepen their knowledge of the technology, technique or modelled material following a script provided by the teacher.

Treasure Hunt (Reading Promotion) - Divide the classroom into two groups, each with a spokesperson who goes to the library to look for a book indicated by the teacher (different for each group), in such a way that each one of the groups, look for a series of data or explanations requested by the teacher in the indicated book and cooperatively build a document with those data and explanations taken from the book and to be delivered, through the spokesperson, via the Moodle task, to the teacher at the end of class. The teacher will give points of active participation in the evaluation of the subject to the group that does it best.

Flipped Classroom - The teacher will post a link to a YouTube video in the Moodle about some aspect of the subject's syllabus that the students will visualize either as homework before the corresponding non-face-to-face class or during the break of the face-to-face class projecting it on the class screen. After viewing the video, the teacher will propose to the students to take a quiz through a tool like Socrative or Kahoot using their mobile phones, tablets or computers to check the assimilation of the concepts covered in the video. The teacher will give active participation points in the subject to students who answer correctly and more quickly to the quiz questions.

Solving problems and study cases - Carry out numerical exercises in class for the practical application of the laws, equations and concepts seen in theory, both by the teacher and by the students on paper and on the board. A bulletin of additional problems will also be hung from the Moodle so that the student can train for the practical part of the exams. The delivery of the problem bulletin to the teacher through a Moodle task in the stipulated time, as well as volunteering to solve problems on the board will score in the evaluation of active participation in the subject. Carry out simulation exercises and practical cases, using the CES EduPack material selection software, individually or in groups (choosing a spokesperson) in practical or seminar class. The evidences of the realization of the practical cases and simulation exercises will be collected through a portfolio in Moodle.

Evaluation systems and criteria

In person

The structuring of the subject in theoretical and practical sessions involves the evaluation of the knowledge and skills acquired in a differentiated and complementary manner. In the case of the contents of the theoretical sessions, they will be evaluated in a partial test and in a final test, both written and that will take into account both the ability to relate the contents of the different topics in a transversal way, as well as the development of one´s own thinking. Regarding the practical part of the subject, the evaluation will be continued, considering the following aspects with different relative weight: active participation in class, final course work and peer evaluation, laboratory practices and debate after the reading of the complementary bibliography. In order for both parts of the course to be able to take an average and thus obtain the final grade for the course, it will be necessary to pass them independently.

The student´s qualification will be:


 1st call


Assessment type

Evaluation system


Summative evaluation

Final exam

30 %

Summative evaluation

Midterm exam

25 %

Formative assessment

Debate - material selection methods

15 %

Formative assessment

Oral presentation - science fiction materials

15 %

Diagnostic evaluation

Self-assessment test

0 %

Authentic evaluation

Homework 15 %





 2nd call

Assessment type

Evaluation system


Summative evaluation

Final exam

70 %

Formative assessment

Debate - material selection methods

15 %

Formative assessment

Oral presentation - materials 2030 roadmap

15 %


Important considerations:

  1. Plagiarism, copying or any other action that may be considered cheating will be zero in that evaluation section. Besides, plagiarism during exams will mean the immediate failing of the whole subject.
  2. In the second-sitting exams, the maximum grade students will be able to obtain is "Excellent" (grade with honors distinction will not be posible).
  3. Changes of the calendar, exam dates or the evaluation system will not be accepted.
  4. Exchange students (Erasmus and others) or repeaters will be subjected to the same conditions as the rest of the students.
  5. Attendance to the course is compulsory. 3 absences registered by the professor and not justifiable in the secretary's office of the degree will mean the immediate failure of the course in the first call.
  6. It is not allowed to enter the classroom 10 minutes after the lesson has started (or to leave) unless there is a justified cause.

Bibliography and resources

(1). Callister, W. D., Rethwisch, D. (2016). Ciencia e ingeniería de los materiales. Reverte.

(2). Smith, W. (2014). Fundamentos de la ciencia e ingenieria de materiales. McGraw-Hill Interamericana.

(3). Puértolas Ráfales, J. A., Ríos Jordana, R., Castro Corella, M. (2016). Tecnología de los materiales en ingeniería, Volumen 1. Sintesis.

(4). Puértolas Ráfales, J. A., Ríos Jordana, R., Castro Corella, M.  (2016). Tecnología de los materiales en ingeniería, Volumen 2. Sintesis.

(5). Ashby, M. F., Shercliff, H., Cebon, D. (2019). Materials: Engineering, Science, Processing and Design. Butterworth-Heinemann/Elsevier.

(6). Montes Martos, J. M., Gómez Cuevas, F., Cintas Físico, J. (2014). Ciencia e ingeniería de los materiales. Ediciones Paraninfo, S.A.

(7). Farag, M. M. (2020). Materials and Process Selection for Engineering Design. CRC Press.

(8). Askeland, D. R., Wright, W. J. (2022). Ciencia e Ingenieria de Materiales. Cengage Learning.

Evaluation period

E: exam date | R: revision date | 1: first session | 2: second session:
  • E1 11/01/2023 A14 13:00h