W elcome to the fascinating world of engineering materials! All branches of engineering are concerned with the use and processing of materials and so this unit makes an excellent companion to the others that you study as part of your EAL Level 2 award. In fact, the correct choice and processing of materials can be crucial. For example, civil engineers need to ensure that the materials they use to build roads, bridges and dams are able to withstand the forces and stresses that will be placed on them. They also need to be confi dent that the building materials will not degrade with time.