MatSE 406: Thermal and Mechanical Behavior of Materials

Fall 2021


TR 11:00–12:20pm in DCL 1320
Quizzes via Computerized-Based Testing Facility (CBTF)

Course content




Students will be able to

  1. explain how fundamental microscopic physical mechanisms produce macroscopic mechanical and thermal behavior of materials;
  2. calculate mechanical and thermal behavior for a variety of realistic problems;
  3. apply empirical and theoretical models to novel engineering questions.
  4. work together with their colleagues in a professional, scientific manner.


If you have not passed a prerequisite course, please see the instructor before continuing.


Dallas R. Trinkle (; 308 MSEB in the west stairwell).

Teaching assistants

Discussion sections

All in 4031 CIF:

You may only attend your registered section

Course evaluation

10% x (Online Homework) + 4% x (Participation) + 8% x (Discussion Worksheets) + 8% x (Written Reports) + 70% x (Quizzes)

Numerical total score corresponds to the following final grades:

A+ (98–100) A (94–97) A– (91–93)
B+ (88–90) B (84–87) B– (81–83)
C+ (78–80) C (74–77) C– (71–73)
D+ (68–70) D (64–67) D– (61–63)
F (0–60)

Online Homework (10%)

Assignments on PrairieLearn.

Participation (4%)

During lecture time, we will use i>clickers to help check your understanding of the material, and give you practice working some problems.

Discussion worksheets (8%)

Prompt and regular attendance at your discussion section is required. You must attend only the discussion section in which you are enrolled.

Most discussion sessions will consist of a group worksheet exercise, which is a high-energy and efficient 50-minute learning experience. For each session, students will work with their group of three to four people. Each student must submit a completed worksheet, but only one randomly-chosen worksheet will be scored from each group, and every student in that group will be given that score. If you are more than 5 minutes late to a discussion session, then you will not be permitted to complete the worksheet. There are two main goals for the discussion worksheets:

We also hope that these discussion worksheets will help you to meet your classmates, and we encourage you to get together outside of lectures and discussions to work collaboratively on homeworks and exam study.

Discussion sections start Friday August 27. In addition, you will receive an email from CATME with an private survey message for you. Your information will be used to construct your teams for the recitations throughout the semester; you must complete the survey by Sept. 1. You should work with your team to study outside of the class, and you will work together on computational reports (see below). For Aug. 27, you will work in random teams in recitation, but starting Sept. 3, you will work in your assigned team for the rest of the semester.

Written Reports (8%)

Each week a report must be submitted, consisting of a full write-up of a problem related to the group worksheet that was assigned in that week’s discussion section. The report will be posted after the discussions on Friday and must be submitted (via GradeScope) the following Thursday at 11:59pm. The TAs will grade the report.

Written reports are assigned to practice the communication of engineering concepts in writing. They will be graded based on presentation, neatness, correct use of symbols, quality of drawings and diagrams, and clarity of explanation (80%). Reports should be neat and organized, hand-written or typed. Tables and graphical representations of results should be generated using some software program such as Excel, TecPlot, MatLab, etc., rather than being hand-drawn. Correct interpretation of the problem and correct final answers are important but not the focus (20%). Late written reports will not be accepted. The first reports will be assigned Friday August 27 during your discussion section, and due Thursday Sept. 2. Point breakdown for the written report:

Computational reports.

Computational material science and engineering is a field with increasing importance in research and industry; to give you experience in applying the tools of computational modeling to materials science and engineering, there will be computational reports that are assigned throughout the semester. Additional information will accompany these assignments, and you will be able to take advantage of additional support from a teaching assistant on these assignments. In addition, you can work as a group on the computational reports, and turn in a single report for the computational modeling. All other reports are to be done individually.

Quizzes (70%)

Dates and policies: There are regular 50 minute quizzes roughly every two weeks. The seven quizzes are scheduled for Sept. 1-Sept. 5, Sept. 17-20, Oct. 1-4, Oct. 15-18, Oct. 29-Nov. 1, Nov. 12-15, Dec. 3-6. The final exam will take place during exam week.

This course uses the College of Engineering Computer-Based Testing Facility (CBTF) for its quizzes and exams:

The policies of the CBTF are the policies of this course, and academic integrity infractions related to the CBTF are infractions in this course.

If you have accommodations identified by the Division of Rehabilitation-Education Services (DRES) for exams, please take your Letter of Accommodation (LOA) to the CBTF proctors in person before you make your first exam reservation. The proctors will advise you as to whether the CBTF provides your accommodations or whether you will need to make other arrangements with your instructor.

Any problem with testing in the CBTF must be reported to CBTF staff at the time the problem occurs. If you do not inform a proctor of a problem during the test then you forfeit all rights to redress.

Quiz Content:

The quizzes last fifty minutes, and will give you an immediate assessment and feedback on your understanding of the material since the previous quiz. The first quiz is a prerequisite quiz, which covers a review of topics from prerequisites for the class, while the other quizzes are roughly paired around the topics of elasticity, plasticity, creep and failure. The final exam is optional. It is cumulative over the entire course, and lasts three hours.

Total score: Your total score of 70% is calculated from your seven quizzes using a weighted sum. First, we sort your quiz scores from highest (score \(S_1\)) to lowest (score \(S_7\)). We sum them up as \(16 S_1 + 14 S_2 + 12 S_3 + 10 S_4 + 8 S_5 + 6 S_6 + 4 S_7 = 70 S\), where \(S\) is your combined quiz score. If you take the final exam and your score exceeds your lowest quiz score, the exam score will replace the lowest quiz in the total calculation; if your score exceeds your lowest two quiz scores, the exam score will replace your two lowest quizzes in the total calculation.


To succeed in this class, you will need to

Obtaining help

The main two ways to obtain help are online at CampusWire or in person at office hours. Please do not send email directly to TAs or professors for routine help, because our email inboxes are disasters; CampusWire is much better for this. In cases of emergencies related to quizzes (e.g., illness) you should email message Prof. Trinkle at the earliest possible opportunity; note that due to the ability to (re)schedule via the CBTF, you will be able to take care of this yourself in most cases.

Online forum (CampusWire)

This class uses CampusWire for all communication between the instructor, TAs, and students. You will receive an email to register with CampusWire soon. Official class announcements will be sent via CampusWire, so you must register with an email address that you regularly check, or check CampusWire regularly. If you desire, you can post anonymously on CampusWire to the entire class, or post a private question just to the instructors (this should be done rather than emailing the professor directly). TAs are checking CampusWire on a daily basis during the week. Note that CampusWire should be used to communicate with your instructors, rather than email.

Office hours

Office hours will be held Mondays (time TBD) and Wednesday time TBD). The first hour will be a time to meet up with fellow MSE406 students to work on homework and written reports together, and the second hour will be staffed by a TA. Office hours will start Aug. 30). Do not ask TAs to work the homework problems before they are due; it is fine to ask specific questions on the details of your attempted solutions, or to work out problems that are similar to homework problems; you can also ask about homework problems or quiz questions once the due dates are passed.


See ODOS Absence Letters.

Formal and Informal Accommodations

I am committed to assisting students requiring special accommodations for circumstances that are registered with the DRES Student Services Department. These formal accommodations should be discussed with me as early as possible in the semester or as soon after DRES approval as possible.

If you are not formally registered with DRES and have anxiety, depression, learning disabilities, or other issues that affect your ability to fully participate and learn in this class, you are encouraged to check-in with me so we can determine together the kind of support you need to thrive in this class. Please set up a meeting with me via email.

Inclusion and Diversity

I value all students regardless of their background, race, religion (creed), ethnicity, gender, gender expression, age, country of origin, disability status, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, etc., and am committed to providing a climate of excellence and inclusiveness within all aspects of the course. If there are aspects of your culture or identity that you would like to share with me as they relate to your success in this class, I am happy to meet to discuss. Likewise, if you have any concerns in this area of facing any special issues or challenges, you are encouraged to discuss the matter with me (set up a meeting via email) with an assurance of full confidentiality (only exception being mandatory reporting of academic integrity / code violation and sexual harassment). Harassment or discrimination of any kind will not be tolerated.

Anti-Racism and Inclusivity Statement

The intent is to raise student and instructor awareness of the ongoing threat of bias and racism and of the need to take personal responsibility in creating an inclusive learning environment.

The Grainger College of Engineering is committed to the creation of an anti-racist, inclusive community that welcomes diversity along a number of dimensions, including, but not limited to, race, ethnicity and national origins, gender and gender identity, sexuality, disability status, class, age, or religious beliefs. The College recognizes that we are learning together in the midst of the Black Lives Matter movement, that Black, Hispanic, and Indigenous voices and contributions have largely either been excluded from, or not recognized in, science and engineering, and that both overt racism and micro-aggressions threaten the well-being of our students and our university community.

Learning Environment

The effectiveness of this course is dependent upon each of us to create a safe and encouraging learning environment that allows for the open exchange of ideas while also ensuring equitable opportunities and respect for all of us. Everyone is expected to help establish and maintain an environment where students, staff, and faculty can contribute without fear of personal ridicule, or intolerant or offensive language. If you witness or experience racism, discrimination, micro-aggressions, or other offensive behavior, you are encouraged to bring this to the attention of the course director if you feel comfortable. You can also report these behaviors to the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (OVCDEI). Based on your report, OVCDEI members will follow up and reach out to students to make sure they have the support they need to be healthy and safe. If the reported behavior also violates university policy, staff in the Office for Student Conflict Resolution may respond as well and will take appropriate action.

Religious Observances

Illinois law requires the University to reasonably accommodate its students’ religious beliefs, observances, and practices in regard to admissions, class attendance, and the scheduling of examinations and work requirements. You should examine this syllabus at the beginning of the semester for potential conflicts between course deadlines and any of your religious observances. If a conflict exists, you should notify your instructor of the conflict and follow the procedure at ODOS to request appropriate accommodations. This should be done in the first two weeks of classes.

Sexual Misconduct Reporting Obligation

The University of Illinois is committed to combating sexual misconduct. Faculty and staff members are required to report any instances of sexual misconduct to the University’s Title IX Office. In turn, an individual with the Title IX Office will provide information about rights and options, including accommodations, support services, the campus disciplinary process, and law enforcement options.

A list of the designated University employees who, as counselors, confidential advisors, and medical professionals, do not have this reporting responsibility and can maintain confidentiality, can be found here: confidentiality.

Other information about resources and reporting is available here:

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

Any student who has suppressed their directory information pursuant to Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) should self-identify to the instructor to ensure protection of the privacy of their attendance in this course. See FERPA info for more information on FERPA.

Academic Integrity

You are bound by the University Honor Code in this course. Any violation of the Honor Code will result in disciplinary action.

Students are responsible for producing their own work. Collaborative interaction is encouraged, but each student must do their own individual homework and written reports (except as noted), and contribute their own work to the group. Plagiarism and cheating will not be tolerated, and verified incidents will result in all parties receiving a zero and formal academic sanctions. Students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with the definition of and penalties for plagiarism in Section I-401 of the UIUC Student Code. Note that plagiarism includes “copying another student’s paper or working with another person when both submit similar papers without authorization to satisfy an individual assignment.”


Following University policy, all students are required to engage in appropriate behavior to protect the health and safety of the community. Students are also required to follow the campus COVID-19 protocols.
Students who feel ill must not come to class. In addition, students who test positive for COVID-19 or have had an exposure that requires testing and/or quarantine must not attend class. The University will provide information to the instructor, in a manner that complies with privacy laws, about students in these latter categories. These students are judged to have excused absences for the class period and should contact the instructor via email about making up the work.
Students who fail to abide by these rules will first be asked to comply; if they refuse, they will be required to leave the classroom immediately. If a student is asked to leave the classroom, the non-compliant student will be judged to have an unexcused absence and reported to the Office for Student Conflict Resolution for disciplinary action. Accumulation of non-compliance complaints against a student may result in dismissal from the University.

Face-covering and building access

All students, faculty, staff, and visitors are required to wear face coverings in classrooms and university spaces. This is in accordance with CDC guidance and University policy and expected in this class.

Please refer to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s COVID-19 website for further information on face coverings. Thank you for respecting all of our well-being so we can learn and interact together productively.

In order to implement COVID-19-related guidelines and policies affecting university operations, instructional faculty members may ask students in the classroom to show their Building Access Status in the Safer Illinois app or the Boarding Pass. Staff members may ask students in university offices to show their Building Access Status in the Safer Illinois app or the Boarding Pass. If the Building Access Status says “Granted,” that means the individual is compliant with the university’s COVID-19 policies—either with a university-approved COVID-19 vaccine or with the on-campus COVID-19 testing program for unvaccinated students.

Changes to syllabus

May occur as deemed necessary by the professor; they will be announced and the updated syllabus posted on the course website.

Lecture topics and reading calendar

Day Assignments Lecture (Courtney Chapter)
T Aug 24 1. Review of mechanical response (1) slides
R Aug 26 Posted: HW0 2. Elastic behavior (2.1-2.4) slides
F Aug 27 Worksheet 0
T Aug 31 Due: HW0, Posted: HW1 3. Anisotropic elastic behavior (2.5) slides
W Sep 01 CBTF Quiz 0
R Sep 02 4. Rubber, viscous flow (2.6, 8) slides
F Sep 03 Posted: WR1 Worksheet 1
T Sep 07 Due: HW1, Posted: HW2 5. Polymer deformation, damping (2.7-2.8, 8) slides
R Sep 09 Due: WR1 Review
F Sep 10 Posted: WR2 Worksheet 2
T Sep 14 Due: HW2, Posted: HW3 6. Composites intro (6.1, 6.2, 6.4) slides
R Sep 16 Due: WR2 7. Composite fiber effects (6.5, 6.6) slides
F Sep 17 CBTF Quiz 1 No recitation
T Sep 21 8. Composite statistics (6.7, 9.7) slides
R Sep 23 Review
F Sep 24 Posted: CR3 Files Worksheet 3
T Sep 28 Due: HW3, Posted: HW4 9. Dislocations intro (3.1-3.4) slides
R Sep 30 Due: CR4 9. (continued)
F Oct 01 CBTF Quiz 2; Posted: WR4 Worksheet 4
T Oct 05 Due: HW4, Posted: HW5 10. Dislocation stress fields (3.6) slides
R Oct 07 Due: WR4 11. Dislocation energies and directions (3.6D-3.7) slides
F Oct 08 Posted: WR5 Worksheet 5
T Oct 12 Due: HW5, Posted: HW6 12. Plasticity (3.9, 4.1-4.5) slides
R Oct 14 Due: WR5 12. Plasticity (3.9, 4.1-4.5) slides
F Oct 15 CBTF Quiz 3; Posted: WR6 Worksheet 6
T Oct 19 13. Strengthening, work-hardening (5.1-5.3) slides
R Oct 21 Due: WR6 14. Solid solution strengthening (5.5) slides
F Oct 22 Posted: CR7 Files Worksheet 7
T Oct 26 Due: HW6, Posted: HW7 15. Particle hardening (5.6) slides
R Oct 28 Due: CR7 16. Boundary strengthening, polyxtals (4.4, 5.5) slides
F Oct 29 CBTF Quiz 4 No recitation
T Nov 02 Due: HW7, Posted: HW8 17. Creep (7.1-7.4) slides
R Nov 04 18. Fracture intro (9.1-9.3) slides
F Nov 05 Posted: WR8 Worksheet 8
T Nov 09 Due: HW8, Posted: HW9 19. Fracture mechanics, toughness, stats (9.4-9.7B) slides
R Nov 11 Due: WR8 20. Toughening of metals, ceramics (10.1-10.3) slides
F Nov 12 CBTQ Quiz 5; Posted: WR9 Worksheet 9
T Nov 16 Due: HW9 21. Toughening of polymers, composites (10.4-10.5) slides
R Nov 18 Due: WR9 Review
F Nov 19 No recitation
T Nov 23 Thanksgiving break
T Nov 30 Posted: HW10 22. Fatigue intro, crack propagation (12.1-12.3; 12.4-12.6) slides
R Dec 02 23. Selection / Design slides
F Dec 03 CBTF Quiz 6; Posted: CR10 Files Worksheet 10
T Dec 07 Due: HW10 Review
R Dec 09 Due: CR10 Reading day
TBA Begin FINAL Optional Final, PrairieLearn (1–10, 12)