CET849 History of Materials

Course Provider

School of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE)



Academic Unit



Technological innovations underlying engineering fields are driven by the field of material sciences. This course provides a historical perspective of the development of art, construction and technology from antiquity to the present day with an introduction to state-of-the-art technological innovations of various materials.  

The evolution of materials through the Stone, Bronze and Iron Ages will be contextualised with the benefit of modern understanding with a scientific foundation. Material systems (polymers, metals, ceramics, and composites) are developed sequentially to provide a framework to explain the fundamental, physical origins of observable and important macro and micro-scale properties.  

Issues surrounding long-term sustainability with respect to materials, including scarcity, recycling, and pollution as well as the future of materials will be discussed.

This course is part of:

- Graduate Certificate in Materials Characterization
- FlexiMasters in Materials Characterization

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Course Availability

  • Date(s): 15 Jan 2024 to 19 Apr 2024

    Venue: Online

    Registration Closing Date: 11 Dec 2023

At the end of the course, learners  are able to:

1. Understand the range and uses of materials from the past to the current day.

2. Appreciate past contributions to present-day materials science and trace its development.

3. Develop a foundational understanding of Materials Science and Materials Engineering.

4. Develop an understanding of the potentials and limitations of materials.

- Lecture 1: Why do Materials Matter?


- Lecture 1: It all Begins with Clay!
- Lecture 2: Transformation of Clay into Ceramics
- Media Recording: Dragon Kiln, Asian Civilisations Museum
- Lecture 3: The Art and Science of Historic Ceramics
- Lecture 4: Glass is a Ceramic
- Media Recording: Asian Civilisations Museum
- Lecture 5: From Pots to Space Shuttles – Advanced/Technical Ceramics


- Lecture 1: Historical Metal Processing and Applications
- Media Recording: Asian Civilisations Museum
- Lecture 2: State of the Art Technologies with Metals
- Media Recording: Rolls Royce Corp Labs; Singapore Centre for 3D Printing
- Lecture 3: Case Study: Liberty Ship Failure in 1940s and other historic materials failures and State of the art Failure Analysis Lab
- Media Recordings: Rolls Royce Seletar- Failure Analysis Lab


- Lecture 1: Natural Polymers: Gutta percha and rubber
- Media Recording: NUS Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum
- Lecture 2: Synthetic Polymers and Processing: Roll to Roll, Fiber Extrusion
- Media Recording
- Lecture 3: State-of-the-Art and Advanced Applications


- Lecture 1: Natural Composites: Nacre, Wood, Paper
- Media Recording: NUS Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum
- Lecture 2: Synthetic Composites – Processing and Applications
- Media Recording: Interview with Associate Professor Sridhar Idapalapati; Interview with Assistant Professor Hortense Le Ferrand
- Lecture 3: State of the Art Synthetics Lab and 3D Bioprinting
- Media Recording: Interview with Associate Professor Yeong Wai Yee


- Lecture 1: Sustainable Building Materials and Infrastructure
- Lecture 2: 3D Printing TechnologyMedia Recording: Singapore Centre for 3D Printing
- Lecture 3: Biomimetic Materials
- Media Recording: NUS Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum
- Lecture 4: Environmental Concerns, Pollution, Societal Issues and Future of Materials

This course is conducted in asynchronous e-learning.

Suitable for professionals working in engineering, Quality Control, Failure Analysis, Manufacturing and R&D.

Standard Course Fee: S$1,620

  • NTU/NIE alumni may utilise their $1,600 Alumni Course Credits. Click here for more information. 
    Read more about funding
    CET777 Thermal Analysis1
    CET778 Surface Analysis1
    CET850 Chemical Analysis of Materials 11
    CET851 Chemical Analysis of Materials 21
    CET853 Advanced Methods in Polymer Molecular Characterization in Solution1
    CET854 Advanced Methods in Polymer Characterization in the Melt and Solid States1
    CET855 The Characterization Challenge of Polymers with Environmental Impact1
    CET856 Principles and Applications of Solid-State NMR3
    CET785 Fundamentals of Electron Microscopy2
    CET786 Advanced Characterization using TEM Techniques2
    CET852 Properties of Materials2
    CET772 Principles and Adaptation2
    CET773 Variation and Nonstoichiometry2

    Listed courses are:

    • Credit-bearing and stackable to Graduate Certificate in Materials Characterization (total 9AUs) and FlexiMasters in Materials Characterization (total 15AUs).
    • SSG funded and SkillsFuture Credit approved.