Introduction to Materials

Module code: F1098
Level 4
15 credits in autumn teaching
Teaching method: Lecture, Workshop, Laboratory
Assessment modes: Unseen examination, Coursework

One of the main justifications for investment in chemistry over the last century has been the development of new materials. The very rapid growth in polymers, glasses, ceramics and alloys has fuelled growth in every area of technology, and materials science has emerged as a separate discipline over the last 50 years.

The aim of this module is to provide an introduction to materials in terms of their atomic, molecular and electronic structures and how these influence bulk properties.

About half of the module focuses on solid materials in general. This concentrates on the three principal types of bonding for perfect solids and their effect on mechanical and electrical properties. You discuss the effects of imperfections, with special reference to defects and alloys.

The other half of the module focuses specifically on organic materials, particularly polymers, which are by far the largest volume products of the chemical industry. The usefulness of the science is emphasised by reference to contemporary materials, including nanoscience.

Module learning outcomes

  • Understand the structures of crystals and materials and their properties
  • Ability to use modern instrumentation to be able to identify metal and polymer materials
  • Be able to describe methods to produce common polymers
  • Demonstrate an understanding of how polymer structure can influence their chemical and/or physical properties