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2013/14 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

PEME2711 Materials Structures and Characterisation

20 creditsClass Size: 50

Module manager: Professor R M D Brydson

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2013/14

Pre-requisite qualifications

A-levels in science, first year courses in atomic and molecular structure plus materials chemistry.

This module is mutually exclusive with

PEME3711Materials Structures and Characterisation

Module replaces

PREN2700 Materials Structures and Characterisation

This module is not approved as an Elective


On completion of this module, students should be able to:
- describe a range of typical crystal structures adopted by materials and understand the factors which determine the adoption of these structures;
- give a unified view of defects in solids, understand the mechanisms of their generation their behaviour and their stability, and predict their effects on materials properties;
- describe and understand the stability of materials structures, including defects, in thermodynamic terms;
- understand the principles, applications and limitations of advanced materials characterisation techniques;
- practically employ a range of advanced materials characterisation techniques and analyse the data generated by these;
- conduct a materials characterisation mini-project, including selection and application of characterisation techniques.


Basic geometrical crystallography; crystal structures and crystal systems; space lattices and symmetry; point groups and space groups; geometry of the reciprocal lattice.
Use of computers in the generation and analysis of crystal structures.
X-ray characterisation: the Laue equations and Bragg's Law; the Ewald sphere; coherent scattering of X-rays; atomic scattering and structure factors; X-ray diffraction techniques.
Stability and transformations of crystal structures: a thermodynamic approach; displacive and reconstructive transformations; effects of temperature and pressure on stability.
The mechanistic approach to diffusion; atomic and molecular movement; dislocation reactions and interactions; grain boundaries; point, line and planar defects in metallic and ceramic crystal structures; polymer structures; importance of defects in materials behaviour.
Light microscopy: dark ground, polarised light, differential interference contrast, interferometry methods, etching techniques.
Electron specimen interactions: ionisation and decay, production of X-rays, secondary and Auger electrons.
Electron microscopy: SEM, TEM, EPMA. Scanning probe techniques.
Surface analysis.
Spectroscopic techniques for analysis: photon spectroscopies, NMR.
Thermal analysis.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Class tests, exams and assessment31.003.00
Group learning101.0010.00
Private study hours127.00
Total Contact hours73.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

30 hours directed reading for lectures/laboratory classes
40 hours preparation of integrated reports
10 hours for group projects
20 hours revision for tests
27 hours revision for final examination

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Students will be monitored weekly by lecture attendance, submission of assessed course work, results in tests and also in course work.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Practical ReportIntegrated Report20.00
Practical ReportIntegrated Report15.00
Group Project/Project/DissertationGroup Project10.00
In-course AssessmentIn-Class Test10.00
In-course AssessmentIn-Class Test5.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)60.00

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

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)3 hr 00 mins40.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)40.00

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: 07/02/2014


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