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The University of Southampton

ELEC2206 Materials

Module Overview

- To develop knowledge for materials at the extreme ends of the conductivity range, i.e. insulators and superconductors. - To develop knowledge of material response to electrical fields, i.e. polarisation and conduction in dielectrics. - To introduce to the students magnetic materials, their processing techniques and applications.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Understand engineering aspects of these materials and the metallurgy involved in the production of special electrical materials
  • Explain material response to electric and magnetic fields
  • Appreciate applications and advantages of high temperature superconducting materials
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Understand materials structure and properties
  • Select suitable materials for engineering applications
  • Apply theories related to superconducting materials
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Measure electrical properties of materials
  • Relate structure and composition to material magnetic properties


Dielectric material (16) - Polarisation mechanisms at the microscopic and macroscopic levels, frequency dependence of polarisation, dipole moments, complex permittivity, Arrhenius equation, electronic polarisation, - Clausius-Mosotti relationship, Maxwell-Wagner interfacial polarisation, dipolar polarisation, Debye equations, Cole-Cole plot. - Electrical conduction mechanisms, charge injection mechanisms, space charge limited current, hopping conduction process - Electret materials, triboelectric series. - Piezo-electricity, ferro-electricity, pyro-electricity High temperature superconductivity (4) - Historical development of superconducting materials - Engineering materials at low temperature, economic benefits, properties of HT c superconductors, Type I and Type II superconductors, Meissner effect, critical current density, Cooper pairs, BSC theory. Superconducting Applications (4) - Josephson junction and flux quantisation - Principle of SQUID operation - Power apparatus, cables and current limiter, energy storage systems Metallurgy and magnetic materials (12) - Importance of phase constitution and crystal orientation in conducting and magnetic materials. Conducting alloy systems and structure - Soft magnetic materials, iron-silicon alloys, recrystallisation, grain orientated material and properties, iron-nickel alloys, importance of ordering and magnetic annealing, soft ferrites and garnets, powder metallurgy and principles of sintering, magnetic properties and uses and economic factors of magnetic sheet steel. - Hard magnetic materials, alnico alloys, fine particle magnets, rare earth alloys, barium ferrites, production and uses, comparison of ferrites and alnico alloys - Storage and recording

Learning and Teaching

Preparation for scheduled sessions18
Completion of assessment task2
Follow-up work18
Wider reading or practice54
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Anderson J, Leaver K D, Rawlings R D & Alexander J M (1990). Materials Science. 

Blythe A (2005). Electrical Properties of Polymers. 

Spaldin N, (2003). Magnetic Materials Fundamentals and Device Applications. 

Blundell S (2009). Superconductivity: A very short introduction. 

Solymar L & Walsh D (1993). Lectures on the Electrical Properties of Materials. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Final Assessment  100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Set Task 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Set Task 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-requisite: ELEC1206

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