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Academic year
Didactic period
Primo Semestre

Training objectives

The aim of this course is to deepen the knowledge about the correlation between the manufacturing process and the microstructural and mechanical properties of structural metal components. As concerns foundry practice, the student will learn how the melt alloy treatments, the control of the process parameters, the solidification conditions and heat treatments can affect the quality of mechanical components. Similar aspects will be deeply investigated for plastic deformation processes and additive manufacturing processes of metallic materials. Moreover, the student will be able to understand how during the welding of ferrous alloys both the process parameters and the main features of the base metal can affect the microstructural quality of the joints. During the course, the student will also develop fundamental skills related to the most important techniques used in microstructural investigations (optical and electron microscopy) to assess the microstructural quality of mechanical components. Regarding the product innovation aspects, the student will acquire sensitivity in the choice of the process in relation to the kind of product as well as to the microstructural and mechanical properties expected in the component. In this context, the basic elements related to functional materials, such as the shape memory alloys (SMAs), will also be introduced; these alloys allow new design strategies for the fabrication of sensors and actuators thanks to their intrinsic metallurgical properties. The student will be able to identify the main microstructural features of the material, as well as imperfections and defects generated by the manufacturing process itself. The student will also acquire the ability to make improvements in the process leading to a decrease in the defect content, according to the expected mechanical properties.


The student must have acquired the basic principles of metallurgy and must have knowledge of the most important ferrous and non-ferrous alloys for structural applications.

Course programme

• Steelmaking. Raw materials, processes, products and microstructural quality. (7,5 hours)
• Solidification. Nucleation and growth theory, thermal undercooling and constitutional undercooling. Solidification microstructures. Micro and macro segregations. (7,5 hours)
• Techniques for metallographic observations. Optical microscopy (OM) and electron microscopy (SEM/EDS and TEM). (7,5 hours)
• Transformation processes of both foundry and wrought aluminium alloys, treatments of the melt alloy, and thermal analysis. Correlation among microstructure, process and mechanical properties. Heat treatments. Imperfections and defects. (20 hours)
• NiTi shape memory alloys (SMAs). Shape memory effect (SME) and superelastic effect (SE): microstructural and mechanical aspects. Functional structures. (5 hours)
• Welding metallurgy of ferrous alloys. Welding defects, quality levels of imperfections in fusion-welded joints. Mechanical properties and microstructural characterization. (5 hours)
• Metal additive manufacturing. Processes and materials. microstructure and mechanical properties. (7,5 hours)

During the frontal lectures, several industrial cases will be presented. Seminars held by specialized industrial technicians or visits to foundries will be organized.

Didactic methods

Frontal lectures on all the course’s topics. Laboratory experiences and practical exercises will be planned during the course.

Learning assessment procedures

The examination is oral. The student is asked to discuss three open questions on the main topics tackled during the course. Both the knowledge of the topics and the ability to critically link them will be evaluated.
Passing the examination is proof that the training objectives have been achieved.

Reference texts

• Teacher’s handouts and international scientific literature.
Specific topics can be further learnt in the following texts:
• Solidificazione, a cura di M. Baricco e R. Montanari, Ed. AIM (Associazione Italiana di Metallurgia).
• W. Nicodemi et al., Siderurgia, AIM editore.
• Manuale della difettologia nei getti pressocolati, AIM editore.
• Li Yang et al., Additive manufacturing of metals: the technology, materials, design and production, Springer.
• Istituto Italiano della Saldatura, Saldatura per fusione, Vol. 1 e Vol. 2, Hoepli Editore.