CHEM 380 : Materials Chemistry


2024 Semester One (1243) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Synthesis, properties characterisation and applications of advanced materials. Includes a review of current trends in materials research. Important aspects of solid inorganic materials and organic polymers are covered.

Course Overview

This course covers a range of relevant topics in contemporary materials chemistry. The course is designed for chemistry majors and those interested in different aspects of materials chemistry.
This course will prepare students for advanced materials courses at the post-graduate level and for jobs in the material industry, including the polymer industry.
  • Introduction to inorganic materials chemistry, Phase diagrams of binary and ternary systems, Structure and properties of inorganic materials, Preparation methods in inorganic materials chemistry
  • Introduction to materials chemistry of polymers, conventional free radical polymerisation and its kinetics, free radical copolymerisation and kinetics, controlled radical polymerisation (RAFT, ATRP, and NMP), classic step-growth polymerisation and kinetics, the conformation of the polymer chain and polymer morphology, characterisation of polymers, mechanical and rheological properties of polymers and typical polymer processing.
  • Introduction to nanomaterials, properties of nanomaterials, including the unique quantum effects that can arise when a bulk material is reduced to a nanomaterial, synthesis, nanometrology, and discussion of material systems with different levels of confinement with selected examples 

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: 15 points from CHEM 210, 220, 251, CHEMMAT 121

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: People and Place
Capability 2: Sustainability
Capability 3: Knowledge and Practice
Capability 4: Critical Thinking
Capability 5: Solution Seeking
Capability 6: Communication
Capability 7: Collaboration
Capability 8: Ethics and Professionalism
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Describe and explain the nature of inorganic materials by using the following terms: defects, stoichiometry/non-stoichiometry, bonding situations in extended structures, classification of inorganic materials (Capability 3, 4, 5 and 6)
  2. Understand and explain binary and ternary phase diagrams and be able to apply the Gibbs Phase Rule to one-component systems, binary and ternary systems and the effects appearing in phase diagrams (Capability 3, 4, 5 and 6)
  3. Understand and explain the structural effects, properties, preparation methods and applications of dielectric materials, superconductors and intermetallic phases and their impact on the environment and society (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8)
  4. Develop and demonstrate a good understanding of what polymers are and why are they important, polymer nomenclature, molecular weight in polymers and molecular weight distribution, isomerism in polymers, polymer classification (Capability 2, 3, 4 and 5)
  5. Develop and demonstrate an understanding of the major classes of chain-growth polymerization and co- polymerization, step-growth polymerization, kinetics, the average degree of polymerization, chain transfer processes, and the kinetic model for the co-polymerization (Capability 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7)
  6. Understand and describe the topology, microstructure and morphology of polymers, polymer coil conformation, glass transition, melting and crystallization, develop an understanding of polymer’s physical properties and characterisation. (Capability 3, 4, 5 and 6)
  7. Understand and describe different types of nanomaterials and define whether a material is zero-dimensional, one-dimensional, or two-dimensional and Understand the implication of spatial confinement and the realisation of observable quantum effects. (Capability 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8)
  8. Understand and explain the driving factors for the growth of nanomaterials and different techniques which can be used and develop an understanding of different analytical techniques commonly used for nanometrology and be able to justify why they are suitable for this field of study. (Capability 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8)
  9. Be able to explain the origin of selected properties in nanomaterial systems such as metal nanoparticles, photonic crystals and thin film systems. (Capability 3, 4 and 5)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Practical 35% Individual Coursework
Test 15% Individual Test
Final Exam 50% Individual Examination
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Final Exam

The theory component is composed of a term test and final exams. The practical component is composed of laboratory experiments.


Tuākana Science is a multi-faceted programme for Māori and Pacific students providing topic specific tutorials, one-on-one sessions, test and exam preparation and more. Explore your options at

As part of the University-wide Tuākana community, The School of chemical sciences aims to provide a welcoming learning environment for and enhance the success of, all of our Māori and Pacific students. We are led by the principles of tautoko (support) and whanaungatanga (connection) and hope you find a home here at the School. Students who have identified as Māori and/or Pacific will receive an invitation to our online portal introducing the Programme, the resources we have available, and how you can get involved.

Tuākana Chemistry runs a range of activities for students enrolled in this class. This includes weekly workshops, social activities, and opportunities to engage with senior students and researchers within the School of Chemical Sciences. Tuākana-eligible students will be added automatically to the Tuākana Chemistry program when they enroll in this course. For more information, please see the Tuākana program website or email

Key Topics

• Inorganic materials chemistry,
• Introduction to materials chemistry of polymers
• Introduction to nanomaterials

Special Requirements

Attendance at the laboratories is a compulsory part of this course. Students must wear safety glasses, covered footwear, and a lab coat before entering the laboratory and must keep these on until after exiting the laboratory. Jandals or other open shoes are not satisfactory footwear. Students who wear prescription spectacles are required to wear safety glasses over their spectacles. Students must comply with all health and safety regulations whilst working in the laboratories.

Note: The test is compulsory. If you miss a test, you must submit an ocial aegrotat application form (AS-46) to the Student Administration before any consideration can be given to an appropriate alternative grading scheme. Failure to submit this form will automatically result in a mark of zero being given for the missed test.

Attendance at the lab session for which you are streamed is compulsory. You may be excused from attending a laboratory session in the cases of illness or injury, selection for a significant sporting or cultural event, or bereavement. In all cases, appropriate documentation must be produced to the lab coordinator within one week of absence from the lab. Contact by email as soon as possible following an absence due to illness or injury and before a planned absence, as soon as it is known, is strongly encouraged.

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15-point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15-point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 34 hours of lectures, 36 hours of lab, 40 hours of reading and thinking about the content, and 40 hours of work on assignments and/or test preparation over the semester.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is required at scheduled activities, including labs, to complete components of the course.
Lectures will be available as recordings. Other learning activities, including tutorials, will be available as recordings.
The course will not include live online events, including tutorials.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

These books are recommended:
Harry R. Allcock 'Introduction to Materials Chemistry' John Wiley & Sons, 2008
PC Painter & MM Coleman, “Fundamentals of Polymer Science”, 2nd edition, Technomic Publishing Company, 1997
All other course material will be available on Canvas.

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

Student feedback is always welcomed and will be considered, in particular suggestions to improve the unique research-lab-based structure of the laboratory component in the course.  

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed for potential plagiarism or other forms of academic misconduct, using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 01/11/2023 04:57 p.m.