Metallurgy for the Non-Metallurgists

Reverse Engineering and Failure Analysis
November 10, 2022
Dr. Thomas Shelton, Ph.D. P.E. Professional Engineer, Expert Metallurgist and Professor at Louisiana State University (LSU)
Dr. Thomas Shelton, Ph.D. P.E. Professor for Louisiana State University

This course is offered to assist those working in professions where training in metallurgy will help improve their performance. We have often delivered this course for our litigation consulting clients and for other engineers and experts who have had no formal training in metallurgy.

Please go to contact us to request this course.

  • Presents a brief history of metals, providing insight into the discovery and use of pure metals and alloys thousands of years before the modern era
  • Provides an explanation of the unique physical characteristics of metals, including the reasons that metals behave differently than such non-metals as plastics, glass, wood, etc.
  • Explains the basis for the selection of different metals for specific engineering applications.
  • Describes how metals are alloyed to achieve desired properties.
  • Provides details on one of the most important of all alloys — steel – and discusses how steel is heat-treated to achieve various combinations of strength and ductility.
  • Explains how metals are formed into the components that are used in our most important engineered machines and structures.
  • Describes how metals are tested to determine critical properties, such as strength, ductility and toughness.
  • Discusses why metals corrode, why different metals behave differently in corrosive environments, and how the corrosion of metals can be controlled.


  • How metals are recovered from nature and processed into usable forms
  • The characteristics of different metal alloy systems
  • A basic understanding of phase diagrams
  • Factors that affect selection of the proper material
  • Mechanical properties and various testing methods
  • How the properties of metals can be altered through heat treatment
  • Introduction to mechanisms of corrosion and comparative corrosive potential


This is an ideal first course for anyone who needs a working understanding of metals and their applications. It has been designed for those with no previous training in metallurgy, such as technical, laboratory, and sales personnel; engineers from other disciplines; management and administrative staff; and non-technical support staff such as purchasing and receiving agents who order and inspect incoming material.