Introduction to Materials (F1098)

15 credits, Level 4

Autumn teaching

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.


55%: Lecture
45%: Practical (Laboratory, Workshop)


40%: Coursework (Problem set, Report)
60%: Examination (Computer-based examination)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 41 hours of contact time and about 109 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2022/23. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to COVID-19, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: