Thursday, April 28, 2011

MSE 101: Introductory References

FSP has an interesting post today about introductory textbooks.  While several such books exist for MSE, by far the most popular is Materials Science and Engineering: An Introduction by Callister, or his other book, Fundamentals of Materials Science and Engineering. To me, these are a solid example of how to do an introductory textbook well. The focus is on presenting the breadth of MSE, with enough detail that almost all MSE majors I know kept their copy as a reference.

It deals with jargon by including a glossary at the end of each chapter, as well as actively defining terms. It is largely about the concepts, with just enough examples to make it seem relevant. While the actual text isn't particularly casual, the typesetting is a bit more free and open, and the illustrations look less like paper figures and more like really well done doodles.

In graduate school, many students in MSE Ph.D programs have a BS in a different discipline, typically physics. I consistently recommend and lend this book to students switching to MSE. However, it is ultimately a general, conceptual book, and falls short in presenting certain critical formulas (stress-based failure criterion, for example). But I have other books for getting into the details of particular areas. In fact, I have three different textbooks entitled "Mechanical Behavior of Materials".

Is there a textbook you would recommend for anyone starting in your field?

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