Materials Technology

Learn to manage the selection and use of different materials, including metals, plastics, ceramics and others for the creation and repair of a wide variety of products. 100 hour online course.

Course Code: VSS202
Fee Code: S2
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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Learn about the selection and use of different materials, including

  • metals, plastics, ceramics and others
  • for the creation and repair of a wide variety of products.
Materials that are commonly used can be classified into different groups. The most basic classification is metals and non-metals. You could also classify them as metals, ceramics and organic materials. Another system of classification includes the main groups of metals, ceramics, polymers and composites.  All the materials that you may think of such as glass, resins, rubber, wood, fibres, carbon, concrete, and minerals fit into these main groups. This course builds your understanding of all of these materials and the characteristics of different materials within each group. 

Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Properties & Classification of Materials
    • Properties of Materials
    • Mechanical Properties
    • Thermal Properties
    • Electrical Properties
    • Environmental Properties
    • Manufacturing Properties
    • Economic Properties
    • Classification of Materials
    • Metals
    • Ceramics
    • Polymers
    • Composites
    • Minerals
    • Silicates
    • Non Silicate Minerals
  2. Metals and Their Uses
    • Ferrous Materials -pig iron, wrought iron, grey iron etc
    • Non Ferrous Metals
    • Aluminium
    • Copper
    • Lead
    • Zinc
    • Tin
    • Nickel
    • Rare Earth Elements
    • Lanthanides
    • Properties and Uses of Rare Earth Elements
    • Other Metals -Titanium, Gold, Silver, Chromium, Tungsten, Antimony
  3. Metal Alloys and Their Uses
    • Malleability
    • Ductility
    • Strength
    • Benefits of Alloys
    • Ferrous Alloys
    • Cast Irons
    • Steels
    • Steel Grading
    • Non Ferrous Alloys: White metal, Nickel-Silver, etc
    • Tin Alloys
    • Copper Alloys
    • Aluminium Alloys
    • Titanium Alloys
    • Titanium, Gold and Silver Alloys
    • Rare Earth Alloys
  4. Working with Metals
    • Metal work
    • Gauges/Sizing
    • Grades
    • Bulk Forming - forging, rolling extrusion, cold sizing, bending, coining, spinning, stamping etc.
    • Casting Metals - expandable and non expandable
    • Cutting Metals - machining, hand cutting, burning
    • Finishing
    • Joining Metals - soldering, welding, brazing, riveting
  5. Non-metals and Their Uses
    • Porcelain
    • Earthenware
    • Glass
    • Brick
    • Polymers
    • Plastics
    • Plant Fibres
    • Resins
    • Rubber
    • Composites - concrete, ceramic matrix composites, weed composites, metal matrix composites
    • Polymer Matrix Composites - fibreglass, carbon fibre
  6. Working with Ceramics (and Glass)
    • Making Pottery
    • Kneading and wedging
    • Shaping - hand building, using a potters wheel, injection moulding, jiggering, jolleying etc
    • Glazing - vitreous enamel, overglaze, underglaze, salt glazing
    • Decorating
    • Firing
    • Making Glass - hot end, cold end etc
    • Glass Sheet
    • Working with Glass - Cutting, fixing, joining, blowing
  7. Working with Polymers & Composites
    • Synthetic Polymers
    • Plastic manufacturing
    • Joining Plastics
    • Plastic welding techniques
    • Polymer Clay
    • Natural Polymers -working rubber
    • Composites - working fibreglass
  8. Safe and Sustainable Handling of Materials
    • Safe Use of Materials
    • Case Studies
    • Sustainable Use of Materials
    • Recycling
    • Major PBL Project

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • Explain important properties of materials used to make things and how they are classified.
  • Differentiate different pure metals and their uses.
  • Explain different metal alloys and their uses.
  • Explain how to work with metals; cutting, shaping and fixing.
  • Explain the main groups of non-metals and their use in making things.
  • Explain how to work with ceramics; cutting, shaping and fixing.
  • Explain how glass is made.
  • Explain how to work with different polymers and composites, including cutting, shaping and fixing.
  • Determine appropriate, safe, and sustainable choices in the use of materials for different applications.

Things may be manufactured at one extreme on a large scale (producing very large numbers of identical products in a factory), or at the other extreme they may be manufactured on a bespoke scale for a specific customer or job (one item at a time in a small workshop). 

We choose to make things out of one type of material rather than another because of its properties, and there may be a whole range of physical properties to consider e.g. chemical, electrical and mechanical properties. These are then balanced against each other to help decide which material to choose. Understanding materials begins with understanding their properties. For construction materials, the following are some of the important considerations but bear in mind we are mostly concerned with solids (although liquids and gases may be used to manufacture certain materials). 

This course provides a foundation for manufacturing and/or construction of anything; small or large.

Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.
Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.
UK Register of Learning Providers, UK PRN10000112
UK Register of Learning Providers, UK PRN10000112

How can I start this course?

You can enrol at anytime and start the course when you are ready. Enrolments are accepted all year - students can commence study at any time. All study is self paced and ACS does not set assignment deadlines.

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If a student cannot submit their assignments for 6 months to ACS, they should advise the school to avoid cancellation of their student
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Our courses are designed to build knowledge, hands on skills and industry connections to help prepare you to work in the area, running your own business, professional development or as a base for further study.

This course has been designed to cover the fundamentals of the topic. It will take around 100 hours to complete, which includes your course reading, assignment work, research, practical tasks, watching videos and anything else that is contained in the course. Our short courses are a great way to do some professional development or to learn a new skill.

It’s up to you. The study hours listed in the course are a rough guide, however if you were to study a short course (100 hours) at 10 hours per week, you could finish the course in 10 weeks (just an example). Our courses are self-paced, so you can work through the courses in your own time. We recommend that you wait for your tutor to mark and return your assignment before your start your next one, so you get the benefits of their feedback.

The course consists of course notes, videos, set tasks for your practical work, online quizzes, an assignment for each lesson (that you receive feedback from your tutor from) and ends in an exam (which is optional, if would like to receive the formal award at the end), using our custom built Learning Management System - Login.Training.

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We offer printed notes for an additional fee. Also, you can request your course notes on a USB stick for an additional fee.

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We are more learning focussed, rather than assessment focussed. You have online quizzes to test your learning, written assignments and can complete an exam at the end of the course (if you want to receive your certificate). You will not receive a pass/ fail on your course work. If you need to add more details on your assignment, we will ask you to resubmit and direct you where you need to focus. If you need help, you can ask your tutor for advice in the student room.

Each module (short course) is completed with one exam.

Exams are optional, however you must sit an exam if you would like to receive a formal award. You will need to find someone who can supervise that you are sitting the exams under exams conditions. There is an additional cost of $60 incl. GST for each exam.
More information is here

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Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.


Meet some of the tutors that guide the students through this course.

Jacinda Cole

Jacinda has expertise in psychology and horticulture. She holds a BSc (hons) in Psychology and a Masters in Psychology (Clinical) and also trained in psychoanalytic psychotherapy at the London Centre for Psychotherapy. In horticulture she has a Certificate in Garden Design and ran her own landscaping and garden design business for a number of years. Jacinda also has many years experience in course development and educational writing.

Graham Anderson

Graham Anderson B. Mech Eng (hons) Dip. Health

Graham has spent his life in the farming and agriculture industry, particularly carving a niche in the avocado sector with experience ranging from tissue culture, to nursery management to fruit marketing. He has an engineering qualification and an extensive range of mechanical skills which are now diversifying to an understanding of our internal mechanics in health and psychology with qualifications underway.

Andrew Williams

Andrew Williams BSc (Hons), PgDip Eng, MSc, CEng MIET, CMgr FCMI

Andrew has extensive experience across the engineering and building services industries, with specialisms in refrigeration and energy management, with professional recognition as both a Chartered Engineer and Chartered Manager.

This experience includes working in consulting and leadership roles right through to being hands on to deliver projects and outcomes for large scale organisations and within startup and scale up environments.

He has adapted his experience to integrate with new technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) to allow for a data driven perspective to be applied to problem solving and is actively using Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence to solve real world problems.

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