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ELEC6224 Advanced Electrical Materials

Module Overview

This module builds upon material covered in earlier parts of the programme, focussing on organic materials and the potential to provide novel solutions to demanding engineering problems. It covers the response of these materials to applied fields and includes: charge transport through disordered materials; advanced dielectrics; conducting polymers; liquid crystals and liquid crystal polymers. The assessment activities are designed to provide scope for students to refine their organisational and team working abilities through the completion of two assignments that require both technical expertise and a range of transferable skills.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

To provide an overview of advanced electrical materials.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • The arrangement of electrons in atoms, molecules and solids, as exemplified by current generation high voltage insulation systems, conducting polymers and liquid crystals
  • How electronic structure leads to materials with different macroscopic properties
  • The way in which different material characteristics are exploited to drive emerging technologies.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a systematic understanding of knowledge, and a critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights, much of which is at, or informed by, the forefront of advanced materials research.
  • Review, consolidate, extend and apply your knowledge and understanding.
  • Solve problems encountered during the course of conducting a mini-project relating either to (a) charge transport dynamics within an insulating polymer or (b) molecular engineering as a strategy to high strength/high modulus materials
  • Select, summarise and survey a group of related research articles relating either to (a) the fundamentals/applications of molecular engineering as a means of producing novel mechanical systems or (b) the importance of space charge in high voltage insulation systems.
  • Analyse and critically evaluate cross-disciplinary results obtained from a range of sources
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Study independently in order to gain specialist knowledge.
  • Organise your time to meet defined objectives.
  • Work efficiently and effectively as a team.
  • Work collectively and independently to manage tasks to completion through effective planning, implementation, reading and other research and critical evaluation.
  • Present and explain technical work, both verbally and in written form.
  • Communicate advanced information and concepts in writing.
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Frame appropriate questions to achieve a solution to a problem and generate a solution to that problem
  • Undertake practical work in order to obtain data pertinent to a defined task.
  • Demonstrate an appreciation of risk and safe laboratory practice.
  • Record your work accurately
  • Employ library facilities, the World Wide Web, the Web of Knowledge and related databases to review specified topics and extract data pertinent to an unfamiliar problem.


Charge Transport in Disordered Materials - Review of electrical conduction in solids - band theory and periodic structures. - Charge transport in disordered systems, hopping transport, traps and space charge. Polymeric Cable Insulation - Review of polymeric materials; the structural elements within polymeric materials. - The structure and chemistry of current generation polymeric cable insulation. - The Pulsed Electro-acoustic technique for measuring space charge. - Nanodielectrics and next generation materials. Conducting Polymers - Molecular structure and delocalisation. - Charge carriers and doping. - Applications of conducting polymers - Photovoltaics and nanoparticles. Liquid Crystals: Electro-optic and Mechanical Materials - The molecular basis of liquid crystallinity: nematic, smectic, cholesteric and discotic structures. - Thermotropic and lyotropic systems; monodomain and polydomain structures. - Liquid crystals and light. - Main-chain liquid crystal polymers as high performance mechanical materials. - Side-chain liquid crystal polymers as novel actuator materials: artificial muscles. requirements for marine transportation systems.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The topics covered in this module are all related and provide an introduction to the fundamentals and applications of advanced electrical materials. The assessment methods are designed to apply the underlying concepts provided in lectures and require you to review, consolidate, extend and apply this knowledge and understanding in the form of a mini-project and a critical review.

Wider reading or practice39
Completion of assessment task86
Preparation for scheduled sessions6
Follow-up work6
Total study time150



MethodPercentage contribution
Mini-Project 50%
Research review  (3000 words) 50%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework assignment(s) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework assignment(s) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-requisite: ELEC2206 OR COMP6238

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