Course Title: Sustainable Engineering Materials

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Sustainable Engineering Materials

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


115H Aerospace, Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering


Sem 1 2014,
Sem 1 2016


City Campus


172H School of Engineering


Sem 1 2017,
Sem 1 2019,
Sem 1 2020,
Sem 1 2021,
Sem 1 2022,
Sem 1 2023

Course Coordinator: Dr. Dong Qiu

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 4487

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 57.03.12D

Course Coordinator Availability: Friday 12pm- 1pm

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

Mechanics and Materials 1, or equivalent

Course Description

This course emphasises the recyclability and the cradle-to-grave nature of engineering materials. The course will encompass both metals and polymers, including polymeric composite materials. Both processing and material characterisation will be discussed in detail. The use, manufacture and design of biodegradable materials will also be discussed in the context of the cradle-to-grave or cradle-to-cradle materials use philosophy. Life cycle assessment of the process will be introduced alongside the societal perspective on the use of sustainable engineering materials. Strategies for the development and use of sustainable engineering materials will be discussed.


Please note that if you take this course for a bachelor honours program, your overall mark in this course will be one of the course marks that will be used to calculate the weighted average mark (WAM) that will determine your award level.

This applies to students who commence enrolment in a bachelor honours program from 1 January 2016 onwards. See the WAM information web page for more information.(;ID=eyj5c0mo77631)

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course contributes to the following program learning outcomes for students who commenced their program prior to 2023:

  • Knowledge of contextual factors impacting the engineering discipline. 
  • Understanding of the scope, principles, norms, accountabilities and bounds of contemporary engineering practice in the specific discipline. 
  • Application of established engineering methods to complex engineering problems. 
  • Fluent application of engineering techniques, tools and resources. 
  • Application of systematic engineering synthesis and design processes.

This course contributes to the following program learning outcomes for students who commenced their program in 2023:

  • PLO2: Utilise mathematics and engineering fundamentals, software, tools and techniques to design engineering systems for complex engineering challenges.    
  • PLO4: Apply systematic problem solving, design methods and information and project management to propose and implement creative and sustainable solutions with intellectual independence and cultural sensitivity. 
  • PLO6: Develop and demonstrate the capacity for autonomy, agility and reflection of own learning, career and professional development and conduct.

Upon successful completion of the course, you should be able to:

  1. Assess the design, development and use of sustainable and biodegradable materials, with a focus on Design-For-Sustainability (DFS) 
  2. Relate environmental issues with regard to material selection and degradation.
  3. Implement a Life Cycle Assessment of a product
  4. Predict societal and economic implications of changing from traditional to more sustainable materials
  5. Identify sustainable strategies for the deployment and manufacture of engineering materials

Overview of Learning Activities

The learning activities in this course include pre-recorded lectures, tutorials and lab practicals (site visit).

Overview of Learning Resources

RMIT will provide you with resources and tools for learning in this course through myRMIT Studies Course.  A prescribed textbook, recommended references and online learning resources will be used for this course. 

There are services available to support your learning through the University Library. The Library provides guides on academic referencing and subject specialist help as well as a range of study support services. For further information, please visit the Library page on the RMIT University website and the myRMIT student portal.

Overview of Assessment

X This course has no hurdle requirements.

Assessment Tasks

Assessment 1 - Formative Online Quizzes (30%)
This assessment supports CLOs 1, 2, 3, & 5
Description: This assessment task consists of three on-line quizzes to aid the understanding of some fundamentals in all learning modules and to assess student's problem-solving skills. This is an individual assessment. The type of questions in the quizzes are mainly analytical questions, and written response questions. Multiple-choice questions may be included, but their weighting is no more than 10%.

Assessment 2 - Group Reflective Laboratory Report (20%)
This assessment supports CLOs 1, 2, & 3
Description: This assessment task will involve exploring common pathways of engineering plastics at the end of their first life and evaluating the economic and societal impact of plastic recycling

Assessment 3 - Group Research Assignment (40%)
This assessment supports CLOs 3, 4, & 5
Description: This assessment task involves proposing a material substitution solution and assessing its environmental and economic impact based on the whole life cycle analysis of a specific product in our daily life. This assessment will include three consecutive components, including draft research proposal (5%), class presentation (10%) and final report (25%)

Assessment 4 - Oral Assessment (10%) 
This assessment supports CLOs 2, 4, & 5
Description: This assessment task aims to probe student's apprehension on the key concept related to the sustainability of common engineering materials. This is an individual assessment.