CHEM2001: Chemistry of Materials

Course Organizer: Prof J. R. G Evans

Lecturers: Prof. J. R. G. Evans, Prof. I. P. Parkin and Prof. X. Guo

Normal prerequisite: CHEM1301

Units: 0.5


The course will outline how technologically important properties of materials arise from the bonding and structure on the one hand and the presence of point, line, planar and volume defects on the other.


At the end of this course students will be able to define and discriminate between various types of materials, provide examples, and relate their properties to the bonding and structure. They will be able to interpret the strength of materials in terms of bond strength and of the defects present in all materials, distinguishing between ductile and brittle behaviour on the basis of dislocation mobility and Griffiths defects. They will be able to express the response of materials to electric field in terms of the band model, to account for electrical conduction in terms of the Drude model, of superconductors in terms of BCS theory and of intrinsic and extrinsic semiconductors in terms of the origin of charge carriers. They will be able to deduce which properties are primarily influenced by bonding and structure and which by the presence of defects. They will be able to classify the polymerisation pathways and understand the dependence of polymer properties on molecular structure by exploring a range of applications. The coursework will develop student's information retrieval and communication skills and provide a deeper knowledge of a specific type of material.

Course Structure

  • Lectures: 27
  • Tutorials: 0
  • Labs: 0
  • The coursework consists of a written article (<3000 words) on a particular class of material that a student has researched.


  • Exam: 80 % (2 hours)
  • Lab: 0 %
  • Coursework: 20 %

Recommended Texts

  • Basic Solid State Chemistry, AR West, Wiley 1988.
  • The Electronic Structure and Chemistry of Solids, PA Cox, Oxford, 1987.
  • Materials Science and Engineering. An Introduction, WD Callister, Wiley, 4th ed., 1997.

Further Reading

  • The Cambridge Guide to the Material World, R. Cotterill, CUP 1985
  • Solid State Chemistry: Compounds, AK Cheetam and P Day, Oxford, 1992
  • Elements of Materials Science and Engineering, LH van Vlack, Addison-Wesley, 1989
  • Solid State Chemistry and its Applications, AR West, Wiley 1984
  • Polymers, Walton and Lorimer, Oxford University Press Primer
  • Polymer Chemistry An Introduction, Stevens, Oxford University Press
  • Gases, Liquids and Solids, D. Tabor, Cambridge University Press

Course Outline

A. Structure Electronic & Magnetic Properties of Materials (9 lectures by Prof. I. P. Parkin)

  • Band Theory
  • Introduction to semiconductors
  • Superconductivity
  • Ceramic Synthesis
  • SHS and SSM reactions
  • Chemical Vapour Deposition
  • Sol-gel coating

B. Overview of the Material World (8 lectures by Prof. J. R. G. Evans)

  • Deducations from the pair potential
  • Theoretical and experimental strengths
  • Griffith's equation.
  • Dislocations, yield strength and hardness
  • Metallurgical methods of hardening
  • Glassy and crystalline materials.
  • Point defects, Kroger-Vink notation, colour centres, diffusion, semiconduction.
  • Intrinsic and extrinsic semiconductors.
  • Elementary band theory of crystalline solids
  • Dielectrics, capacitors, piezoelectrics.
  • The five categories of manufacturing processes with examples.

C. Organic Polymers (9 lectures by Prof. X. Guo)

  • General principles of polymer chemistry: Definitions, historical context, synthetic/natural, introduction to synthesis, nomenclature.
  • Structure and properties of polymers: How to describe polymer structure: Molecular Weight, glass transition temperature.
  • Characterisation of polymers: IR, X-ray diffraction, thermal analysis.
  • Synthesis of polymers: Mechanisms of chain and step-growth polymerisations. Block polymers. Catalysis. 3-D networks, cross-linking.
  • Structure-property relationships: Modifying properties e.g. plasticisers, antioxidants, antiflammability. Functional polymers - Conducting polymers, liquid crystal polymers, photoresists.
  • Applications: Processing of polymers. Examples of specific applications of different materials including modifications: Contact lenses, Kevlar, PVC, photoresists, CDs. Environmental impact of polymers.
  • Workshop: Material selection. Identification of polymers.

Some recommended books for this part of the course are: I M Campbell, "Introduction to Synthetic Polymers", Oxford Science Publishers, and McCrum, Buckley & Bucknail, "Principles of Polymer Engineering", Oxford Science Publishers. Both of these books are available from the DMS Watson library.