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2023/24 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

CHEM2111 Structure and Synthesis of Materials

10 creditsClass Size: 160

Module manager: Prof Fiona Meldrum

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

Pre-requisite qualifications

Level 1 in Chemistry or equivalent

Module replaces


This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module addresses inorganic solid state structures, materials and how they are synthesised, characterised and understood. Important characterisation and structure determination techniques will be addressed, with a focus on illustrative examples that highlight structure-property relationships and the importance and diversity of materials applications to be found in everyday life.


For students to gain a knowledge and understanding of inorganic solid state lattice structures, methods for synthesis and the structural, morphological and compositional characterisation of such solids, and gain an introduction to structure-property relationships and the applications of solid state materials.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module students will be able to:
(i) demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of key inorganic structural types
(ii) understand some of the underlying principles of X-ray crystallography and structure determination and materials identification by diffraction.
(iii) understand principles and appropriate usage of the other main characterisation methods for solid state chemistry including microscopies, X-ray absorption and solid state NMR.
(iv) develop understanding of structure-property relationships, and the importance of solid state materials in everyday applications - to be built on in the third year CHEM3251 module.


Crystals, Bravais lattices, lattice planes and Miller indices. Important simple close-packed and non-close packed structures, and more complicated structure types such as rutile, perovskites, spinel. Rationalising structural chemistry of ionic solids: radius ratio rules; thermodynamics. Crystallisation and polymorphism.
Crystal structure determination by diffraction: symmetry in crystals; X-rays and diffraction; basics of single crystal crystallography; powder diffraction and indexing; neutron diffraction.
Solid state synthesis methods: ceramic, sol gel, hydrothermal, chemical vapour deposition and other methods. Bottom-up synthesis.
Characterisation techniques and examples: electron and scanning probe microscopies; X-ray absorption spectroscopies; electron spectroscopies, solid state NMR; other spectroscopies; thermal and gas sorption techniques.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
On-line Learning51.005.00
Independent online learning hours15.00
Private study hours62.00
Total Contact hours23.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

89 h - working through online content, making notes, preparation for workshops, tutorials and examination

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Online quizzes, written tutorial coursework

Methods of assessment

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Open Book exam2 hr 00 mins100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)100.00

August re-sit available

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 28/04/2023 14:52:16


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