Principles of Metallurgy


This course teaches 3 key principles about metallurgy:

  1. The microscopic structures present in metals.
  2. How microstructure and alloy composition influence metal strength.
  3. How composition, cold-working, and heat treating are used to modify metal microstructure to obtain desired mechanical properties.

Having a good understanding of how metals behave and what can be done to modify a metal’s properties is critical for being more productive and profitable. This knowledge enables people to make better design and manufacturing decisions, solve quality problems, and have productive conversations with suppliers, customers, and engineers.

This course was designed for people who want an introduction or want to refresh what they learned years ago in a college course. The concepts taught will help you address common design and manufacturing decisions and problems, and have more productive conversations with suppliers, customers, and engineers. The concepts are applicable to all alloys, with examples provided for aluminum, brass, and steel alloys.


at a glance



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Availability to Course Materials

Course – 90 days


Course Length

Approximately 5 hours

course details

  • Benefits
  • Course Modules
    Approximately 5 hours of instruction divided into 12 easily manageable modules.
    Participants can access the course 24/7 from any computer with an internet connection.
    Pause, advance, and rewind navigation features give users complete control over their learning experience.
    Audio narration, animated graphics and video footage make even the most complex topics engaging and easy-to-understand.
    Interactive elements, practice problems, and quizzes facilitate the mastery of concepts and measure content retention.
    Course content was authored by Michael Pfeifer, Ph.D., P.E and was produced by Industrial Metallurgists, LLC.
    Please provide support or contact information.

Module 1 – Introduction

Module 2 – Composition

Module 3 – Microscopic Structures

Module 4 – Crystal Defects

Module 5 – Diffusion

Module 6 – Applications of Metallurgy Principles

Module 7 – Cold Working

Module 8 – Annealing Cold Worked Metals

Module 9 – Solid Solution Strengthening

Module 10 – Steel Metallurgy

Module 11 – Precipitation Strengthening

Module 12 – Course Review

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Was this course authored by AWS?

    No. This course was produced by Industrial Metallurgists, LLC, and is not an AWS course. The course was authored by Michael Pfeifer, Ph.D., P.E. Michael received a B.S. and M.S. in Metallurgical Engineering from University of Illinois and a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from Northwestern University. After graduating, he worked 13 years at Motorola as a manufacturing engineer in an integrated circuit factory and as a design/quality/cost reduction engineer for automotive electronics.

  • Who should take this course?

    This course is ideal for design, manufacturing, and quality engineers, as well as sales people and purchasing agents who have metallurgy discussions with suppliers and customers.

  • How long do I have to complete this course?

    Participants have access to the course content 24 hours a day for a period of 90 days from the date of registration. The final exam may be activated before the end of the 90-day period if the participant has completed all the modules.

  • Does this course include a completion exam?
    Yes. Upon completion of the final course module, participants are prompted to take an exam designed to evaluate their comprehension of the subject matter. The completion exam consists of 24 multiple-choice questions and must be completed within a 60-minute period. Participants who do not attain the 70% passing score may attempt to retake the exam a second time. Participants that pass the exam earn a Certificate of Completion and 5 Professional Development Hours. Certificates can be downloaded from AWS Learning upon successful completion of the final exam.
  • Do I need to purchase any other materials?

    No. All the materials and resources necessary to complete the course objectives are included.

  • Do I receive Professional Development Hours (PDHs) for completing this course?

    Yes. Participants that receive a score of 70% or above will receive a Certificate of Completion and 5 Professional Development Hours (PDHs).

  • Can I use these Professional Development Hours (PDHs) for recertification?

    Yes. Professional Development Hours (PDHs) can be applied towards recertification provided the PDH’s are earned during the certification period.

  • What are the requirements to pass this course?

    Learners must do the following to successfully complete a course

    • Complete all course modules.
    • Achieve at least 70% correct on the course exam.
    • Complete the course within 3 months of the course registration date.
  • Are there course notes?

    Yes. Downloads of the course material are available with each course.

  • How do I obtain my certificate of completion?

    Certificates of completion can be printed after completing a course, which includes passing the course exam.

  • What platforms and devices can I use to view the courses?

    You must be connected to the internet to access our online courses. We support the most recent versions of Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer. Courses can be viewed on desktops, laptops, tablets, and mobile phones. Note, however, that a high speed internet connection and large screen offer a better user experience.





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