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2019/20 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

CAPE2710 Materials Synthesis and Characterisation

20 creditsClass Size: 200

Module manager: Dr N Hondow

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

This module is not approved as a discovery module


The objectives of this module are to provide students with:
- a sound understanding of the physical and chemical principles which underpin both the synthesis of materials and their characterisation;
- the knowledge to be able to select appropriate processing routes with a view to producing materials with a desired combination of properties;
- the ability to select an appropriate range of advanced materials characterisation techniques, and analyse the data generated by these, in order to determine whether a particular processing route has resulted in the desired materials composition and microstructure.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students should:
- understand the thermodynamic, kinetic and morphological principles underpinning materials synthesis;
- be able to apply these principles in understanding the design and capabilities of materials processing techniques;
- be able to design an appropriate processing route to synthesize a material with a controlled microstructure to deliver the required properties;
- understand the principles, applications and limitations of advanced materials characterisation techniques;
- be able to select a range of advanced materials characterisation techniques, and analyse the data generated by these, to characterise (chemically and structurally) the product from a materials synthesis process.


- Synthesis via phase transformations;
- Elements of a phase transformation;
- Order of a phase transformation;
- Thermodynamics and kinetics of first and second order phase transformations, including interfaces and transport processes;
- Microstructural development during transformations from the vapour, liquid and solid states and during crystallisation from solution;
- Microstructural control in materials processing via phase transformations;
- Microscopy: principles and applications of light and electron microscopy techniques;
- X-ray diffraction and characterisation;
- Scanning probe techniques;
- Spectroscopy and surface analysis;
- Examples of contemporary research in materials synthesis and characterisation.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Class tests, exams and assessment21.002.00
Independent online learning hours24.00
Private study hours98.00
Total Contact hours78.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Independent on-line learning using self-learning units and formative on-line tests (16 hr)
Revision for in-class tests and final examination
Reading to support lecture material

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Performance and feedback from formative on-line tests (approximately fortnightly)
Feedback on progress in the group project at three points throughout the year in approximately weeks 11, 17 and 22
Performance in the semester 1 and semester 2 in-class tests

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
In-course MCQ1hr on-line10.00
Group Project6000 word group report30.00
In-course MCQ1hr on-line10.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)50.00

An individual project will be available for students who are required to re-sit the group project which assesses the same learning outcomes but which will require an appropriately reduced time to complete. The August resit will be based on the standard exam at 70% and the group project at 30%. First attempt resits for the in-course MCQs are available during the August examination period.

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)2 hr 50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 30/04/2019


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