With the development of new technologies and changing environments, we need new materials to cope with the stress, high temperatures and environmental attacks. It is the job of a materials scientist to create new materials for future applications and understand how the materials get their properties. Materials science provides the opportunity to develop and use skills from many other sciences including physics, chemistry, computer science and mathematics. The new materials that are developed by materials scientists have applications everywhere you could imagine: spacecraft, fighter jets, buildings, scientific instruments, even medical devices and biological implants. 

What Students will do 

The heart of our project will be investigating a specialist area of materials science: high entropy alloys (HEAs). These are alloys consisting of many metallic elements in similar proportions. As you can imagine, there are millions of different potential compositions. Some of these are not particularly useful, others have exceptional properties like high strength, temperature tolerance or resistance to corrosion. As materials scientists, it is our job to predict and test the properties of different materials, so we can find and use the ones which are of value. You will be learning to predict and test the properties of high entropy brasses, an interesting contemporary form of HEA. 

Before the summer school, you will be provided with videos, papers and websites which will introduce materials science and particularly high entropy alloys. There will be a short quiz due by Friday the 17th of January (end of the week before the summer school) for you to test your knowledge and let us know how you are going with the content. During the summer school, you will get to see and use many advanced pieces of equipment to investigate the properties of alloy samples. Activities include scanning electron microscopy, X-Ray diffraction, tensile and hardness testing. You will have a chance to see and learn about many more sophisticated experimental techniques used by scientists.

Please note - There is significant background information to cover on Openlearning before the January 2020 Summer School. Students will be asked to complete a multiple choice quiz about the readings on Openlearning material by 17th January.

We look forward to working with you on this project!

Targeted Subjects

  • Chemistry  
  • Physics 

Prerequisites Study

  • Chemistry and/or physics 

Areas of Student Interest

  • Inventors 
  • Materials Science 
  • Fundamental sciences 

Lead Academic: Dr Caitlin Healy - Lecturer, School of Materials Science and Engineering 

Caitlin Healy

Caitlin Healy is a lecturer in the School of Materials Science. Her doctoral thesis was on the development of more than 20 new alloys using precious metals in the area of High Entropy Alloys. Spending time in Germany as a researcher in variable resistors, Caitlin developed expertise in the field of lead-free ceramics. Her research focuses on the design, development and characterisation of new metallic alloys in the fields of high-entropy alloys/compositionally complex alloys and bulk metallic glasses. Caitlin is also a former member of the UNSW Post-Graduate Council and Vice-President of the Materials Science Post-Graduate Society.




Sam Wait

Mentor: Samuel Wait

Samuel Wait is an undergraduate student and casual academic in the UNSW School of Physics, currently studying a double degree in science and education. Passionate about science teaching and communication, Samuel is involved in research with the UNSW Physics Education Research for Evidence Centred Teaching (PERfECT) Group. Samuel previously worked in research and development at a major mining sector engineering firm, primarily evaluating and enhancing the mechanical properties of products. His recent projects include the development of inexpensive particle detection hardware for use in high school and university teaching environments, and research into the astronomical knowledge of students.