Materials science is a multidisciplinary area of activity that draws together strands of chemistry, physics and device design and engineering. It underpins the progress of developed and developing societies by providing the functional elements of devices and processes that lead to an improvement in the quality of life. New materials have the potential to deliver substantial environmental and medical benefits, but these are balanced by the environmental and health impact of the processes used in their production.
Aims and Objectives
Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:
- an understanding of the interplay between materials innovation and device design
- a basic understanding of adventure and innovation in cross-disciplinary research
- an overview of four key areas of materials use: energy; electronics; sensors; commodity products
- a critical appreciation of the environmental, resource and human impacts that are associated with the processes involved in the development and production of novel materials
- strategies for acquiring, collating, interpreting, evaluating and presenting complex technical information from cutting-edge research publications.
- a sound understanding of the chemistry and physics principles underlying modern materials for energy storage (batteries, photovoltaic cells) and photonic applications (optic fibers, IR sensors)
- an understanding of current research trends in new materials for energy and photonic applications and how they are likely to develop over the next decade
- a broad and critical understanding of the expected technological applications that will stem from developments materials science
The philosophy underlying this course is to empower students to take charge of their own learning in the area of materials science. As a consequence the course will make extensive use of directed and peer-assisted self-learning methods.
The module will be delivered in the context of 3 materials science research targets:
- Relationships between material composition/structure and functionality
- Design of materials with specific combinations of functionality
- Integration of new materials into devices
The module will cover four broad areas:
Batteries Topics include: electrochemical processes in batteries; principles of rechargeable batteries; materials for lithium ion batteries; battery construction; microfabricated ‘on chip’ batteries; performance benchmarking of batteries; battery life cycle analysis and environmental impacts;life cycle analysis
Photovoltaics Topics include: principles of light to electricity conversion using ino rganic materials; silicon photovoltaics; device architectures; quantum efficiency and performance benchmarking; life cycle analysis
Thermoelectrics: Topics include: materials exhibiting thermoelectricity; structure-function relationships in inorganic materials; thermoelectricity figures of merit; life cycle analysis.
Organic Polymers: Topics include: polymer structures; relationship between structure and physical properties (glass transition temperature, mechanical properties); conducting polymers; electronic nose applications of conducting polymers.
Learning and Teaching
Teaching and learning methods
The course will consist of a small number of ‘traditional' lectures, which will be used to deliver some of the key background knowledge in areas such as structure-property relationships in inorganic materials, fundamental electrochemical principles of batteries, principles of photonics etc. These lectures will provide the framework for a series of interactive sessions that involve directed self-learning activities, several groupwork activities, presentation and discussion sessions as well as workshops. It is likely that the course will end with a 1-day symposium organised by the teaching staff and the students at which they present the results of their assignments.
|Preparation for scheduled sessions||10|
|Wider reading or practice||22|
|Supervised time in studio/workshop||20|
|Completion of assessment task||40|
|Total study time||150|
Resources & Reading list
A comprehensive resource pack is provided on Blackboard at the beginning of the course..
The performance of the students will be assessed through:
- in-class written tests
- individual and group presentations
- written assignments
Students will be assessed for:
- overall understanding of the application of key chemistry, material and sustainability concepts
- critical analysis of research reports
- ability to identify risks and ethical issues
- innovative thinking
This is how we’ll give you feedback as you are learning. It is not a formal test or exam.Workshop activities
This is how we’ll formally assess what you have learned in this module.
An internal repeat is where you take all of your modules again, including any you passed. An external repeat is where you only re-take the modules you failed.
Repeat type: Internal & External