Materials Science Laboratory Experiments

Structure-Properties-ProcessingThese pages contain the laboratory experiments and related materials I developed while at U.C. Davis. I've put them on my web site to share with colleagues and to make sure they are available even if U.C. Davis decides to do something with my old web site there.

Spreadsheets: Many of the experiments offered here either require or benefit greatly from the use of spreadsheets. Spreadsheets may be used when preparing for and conducting the experiments, modeling materials properties, analyzing the data and preparing figures and tables for the reports. If you have never used spreadsheets such as Corel Quattro Pro or Microsoft Excel before, consider trying the following exercise in the SAMS (Spreadsheet Applications for Materials Science) module:

This exercise covers basic calculations, graphing and analyzing data, and it provides detailed, step-by-step instructions for the beginner.

Laboratory Safety: Laboratory safety is an essential and integral part of all laboratory curricula. During your first visit to your laboratory you'll need to acquaint yourself with its safety policies, potential hazards, and emergency procedures.  For each experiment and new tool or chemical used, you'll need to review their operation and safe use, disposal, and related procedures. The following documents provide an overview of the safety issues and policies in effect in a typical teaching laboratory.

In addition, each of the experiments on this site include a safety section where the principal hazards are reviewed. Please keep in mind that these were all developed for my laboratories. Consult your instructor for the policies and procedure in place in your laboratory.

Laboratory Reports: The formal laboratory report is a well known part of most laboratory courses and in many respects is just as important as doing the experiments. In fact, the whole philosophy behind how we design and teach each experiment is to help the student write a clear, concise, and informative report, the type of report they will be writing in their career. Many students find this effort very difficult, citing difficulty understanding the report format and other matters. To help with this I wrote a number of documents offering guidelines, checklists, and suggestions that will help the student write their reports.  You'll find them on the Reports page.

Experiments: The experimental procedures on this site have been used in the classroom numerous times. Some were intended to be used in pre-college out-reach events while others were used in 2nd and 3rd year engineering courses.