Auto evaluation test

Before you apply to the Master Program in Materials Science and Engineering, we encourage you to take the following auto evaluation test.

Read the questions carefully and check your knowledge on the different fields. They correspond with the core subjects. You should be able to effortlessly answer the questions in at least three of the nine research areas below in order to study the program successfully.

Please note: In the entrance exams, three of the areas below are covered. You will be asked beforehand to choose them according to your interests and expertise.

General Materials Properties

  1. What types of atomic bonds are there?
  2. How does the thermal expansion coefficient depend on the melting temperature of a material?
  3. Which crystals structures can Fe adopt?
  4. What are the carriers of plastic deformation in metals?
  5. Which kind of 0-, 1-, 2-, 3-dimensional defects are there?
  6. What is the difference between elastic and plastic deformation?
  7. How does a stress-strain curve of a metal looks like in comparison to a ceramic?
  8. Which strengthening mechanisms are there?
  9. How can we determine the type of crystal structure of a phase?
  10. What is diffusion and when does it take place?
  11. How can we measure the hardness of a material?

Materials Science and Engineering for Metals

  1. What are the basic differences between metals and ceramics?
  2. What is the metallic elongation based on?
  3. What characterizes precious metals?
  4. Why is aluminium more resistant to corrosion than iron?
  5. Which processes can you use to produce metallic components?
  6. How can you harden metallic components?
  7. What is a phase diagram?
  8. Describe creep in one sentence.
  9. State the concentrations of the phases present at the respective temperatures.
  10. Classify the following elements in ascending order according to the chemical stability of their oxides: Fe, Ti, Mg, Cr

Glass and Ceramics

  1. Define the following materials: ceramic, glass, glass-ceramic.
  2. Define the difference between crystalline and amorphous materials.
  3. What is the primary disadvantage of ceramics in terms of their mechanical properties?
  4. What are the advantages of ceramics and glass over metallic materials?
  5. Provide an example of two-dimensional defects in materials.
  6. Define calcination and sintering process.
  7. Why are ceramic and glass brittle?
  8. Why does fracture strength increase with decreasing specimen size?
  9. What is a crystal/unit cell? Can you name a method to determine the crystal structure?
  10. What are the raw materials used to make window glass?

Surface Science and Corrosion

  1. Define corrosion and explain its significance in the context of metals.
  2. Describe an electrochemical technique for studying corrosion behavior of metals.
  3. Explain the concept of galvanic corrosion and provide examples of where it commonly occurs.
  4. Explain how the pH of a solution affects the corrosion of metals.
  5. Describe methods used to prevent or mitigate corrosion in metals.
  6. Explain how alloying can improve the corrosion resistance of metals.
  7. Describe the principle behind cathodic protection and give examples of its applications.
  8. Explain the concept of passivation and its significance in preventing corrosion.
  9. Provide examples of corrosion-resistant metals and alloys and explain why they exhibit such properties.
  10. Describe pitting corrosion and intergranular corrosion.

Polymer Materials

  1. What are mixtures of polymers?
  2. Explain why two monomer types are miscible but not the corresponding polymers of the two monomer types?
  3. What is shear thinning?
  4. Draw the repeating unit (monomer) of polystyrene?
  5. Do you know a solvent for polystyrene?
  6. How does the radius of a single polymer chain in the melt scale with the number of monomer units (chain length)?
  7. What is a block-co-polymer?
  8. Compare thermoplastic and thermosetting polymers on the basis of mechanical characteristics upon heating and (b) according to possible molecular structures.
  9. Explain why the tendency of a polymer to crystallize decreases with increasing molecular weight.
  10. Is it possible to grind up and reuse phenolformaldehyde and polypropylene? Why or why not?

Materials for Electronics and Energy Technology


  1. Why is silicon (semiconductor, not silicone) grey and not transparent for visible light, while ZnSe is yellow and transparent, and rock salt is transparent and colorless?
  2. What are the main elements in window glass? What are the starting materials?
  3. Incandescent lamps are largely replaced by white LEDs. Please explain how these LEDs work, and which materials are involved.
  4. Atomic orbitals: Why do we have 10 transition metals in the period 4 in the periodic table of elements?
  5. Considering the electronic structure: please explain the difference between metals and semiconductors.
  6. Please explain the principle of the x-ray diffraction (XRD) method. Which information can be obtained?
  7. How can you measure the electronic bandgap of materials?
  8. Please explain the Bohr model of atoms.
  9. Conductivity of metals: how do the electrons move according to the Drude model?
  10. Please describe shortly the diamagnetic, paramagnetic, and ferromagnetic materials. How can we calculate the charge carrier density in a semiconductor, if we know the density of states function and the Fermi distribution function?



  1. Name the three major material groups in medical technology and provide one example of each.
  2. Define “brittleness” in a materials science context.
  3. Which biomaterials science approach can be used to alter the brittleness of a material?
  4. Define the term bioactivity (regarding bone substitute materials).
  5. Name the methods to prevent bacteria from colonizing implant surfaces.
  6. What are the advantages of bacteria forming a biofilm?
  7. What exactly is meant by “bone cement” and what applications does it have in medical technology?
  8. Name the four most important scaffold characteristics for bone tissue engineering.
  9. Identify the components of Bioglass®.
  10. Name two advantages of drug delivery systems over oral medication administration.
  11. How are biomaterials classified according to their origin?
  12. Name the two mechanisms by which implants can degrade.
  13. Identify degradable and non-biodegradable synthetic biomaterials separately.
  14. Give examples of factors influencing protein adsorption on biomaterial surfaces.
  15. Which methods can be used to determine cell morphology on biomaterial samples?
  16. Describe the principle of a scanning tunneling microscope by the surface profile measuring of a conductive sample.
  17. List techniques for surface modification of biomaterials.
  18. Name three signals that can be analyzed in the scanning electron microscope.
  19. How does differential thermal analysis work?
  20. What purpose does the Student distribution serve, and what statements can it be used to make?

Materials Simulation

  1. What is the difference between ductile and brittle behavior?
  2. What is plastic deformation?
  3. What is the origin of the electrical properties of metals?
  4. Can you explain heat propagation in materials?
  5. What is Brownian motion?
  6. How can you define the temperature of a solid?
  7. What types of atomic bonds do you know?
  8. What is a crystalline material?
  9. What is an amorphous material?
  10. What is a crystal dislocation?

Micro- and Nanostructure Research

  1. Which type of defects exist in crystalline materials?
  2. Name examples for 0D, 1D and 2D defects in crystalline materials
  3. How is the smallest periodic building block in crystalline materials named?
  4. How is the structure factor defined?
  5. What is a Bragg peak and which information can be extracted from the position, integrated intensity and peak width?
  6. What is the difference between amorphous and crystalline materials?
  7. What determines the resolution of an optical microscope?
  8. Which kinds of signals can be extracted from a scanning electron microscope?
  9. Which effects limit the resolution of a scanning electron microscope?
  10. What is the difference between STEM and TEM?
  11. What is the difference between a TEM DF and BF image?
  12. How does an electron interact with a sample?
  13. What is a SAED pattern and which kind of information can be extracted?