CHM3180 - Materials chemistry - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit

School of Chemistry


Professor Stuart Batten

Unit guides



  • Second semester 2017 (Day)


The unit describes the structure, properties and synthesis of biomaterials, macromolecules, and 'smart' inorganic materials, which are designed to carry out a range of sensing or active functions. Includes: biopolymers and biomineralisation in plants and animals; mimicry of biological systems; properties of everyday materials such as polypropylene and polyurethane and the link between their properties, structure and synthesis; properties of inorganic and metal-organic solids such as conductivity, magnetism, and porosity; theory and use of X-ray crystallography for determining solid-state structures. Principles of controlled radical polymerisation such as RAFT that is widely used in industry to synthesize polymers of certain molecular weights are introduced. In addition, ionic liquids as 'new generation' liquid materials are introduced. The unit also offers an opportunity to learn about a fast emerging field of alternative resources of energy such as solar cells, advanced batteries and fuel cells.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Understand the link between polymer structure and physical properties;
  2. Understand the chemistry of ionic liquids;
  3. Demonstrate the connection between properties of conducting, magnetic and porous materials and their inorganic structure;
  4. Demonstrate a basic understanding of the theory of X-ray crystallography;
  5. Carry out organic and inorganic material synthesis in a laboratory environment;
  6. Apply characterisation techniques to both organic and inorganic materials;
  7. Demonstrate skills in the use of modern information technologies and data analysis, and in the written and oral presentation of scientific data.


Examination (2 hours): 50% (Hurdle)

Assignments: 10%

Laboratory reports: 40% (Hurdle)

To pass this unit a student must achieve a minimum score of 50% in the laboratory practical component and a minimum of 30% for the end-of-semester exam.

Workload requirements

Three 1-hour lectures/tutorials and the equivalent of 3 hours of laboratory activity per week.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


Six points of level one chemistry and six points of level two chemistry. Students without this should consult the third year coordinator.