PHS 581/ CHM 581: The Structure of Matter and its Properties

Summer 2015 (4600)
Classroom: PSH 357
11:10 - 2:00 PM Monday - Tuesday - Wednesday - Thursday
June 29 - July 31, 2015

Instructor: Robert Culbertson, PSH 553 (480) 965-0945.  robert.culbertson@asu.edu

Textbook: The recommended textbook is Materials in Today's World, third edition, by Peter A. Thrower and Thomas Mason.

Description:  The appearance of new materials over the past few decades has had a dramatic impact on all of our lives.  These new materials are incorporated in applications that range from biologically-compatible implants to heat-resistant space shuttle tiles to high-speed electronic components in computers and cell phones.  However, the general public's understanding of how these new materials are conceived and developed is relatively limited. Thus, the theme of this new course, Structure of Matter and Its Properties, will be to show the correlation between the structure, properties, and function of modern materials.  This correlation is based upon the application of principles of chemistry and physics to understand and control the properties of materials.  The families of materials that will be studied include metals, ceramics, polymers, semiconductors and composites.

        The plan for the course is to incorporate together, lectures and discussions, classroom activities, and laboratory experiences, including demonstrations of advanced materials characterization techniques.  The background useful for the course includes introductory college chemistry and physics with some application of algebra and geometry.  The course will build a simple model for understanding materials by scaling the structure of matter from the atomic to the macroscopic level.  The components of this model will include atomic structure, atomic bonding, crystal structure and defects, microstructure, and simplified band structure for electronic and optical properties.  An important outcome will be the development, evaluation, and sharing of new resources that could be used in the classroom.

A representative list of topics to be studied includes:

1) Size and scaling of structure of material.

2) Families of materials and their applications

3) Atomic, structure, bonding and property correlations

4) Crystal structure and properties

5) Defects and microstructure in materials

6) Ceramic material systems

7) Metal and alloy systems

8) Polymer material systems

9) Composite material systems

10) Advanced materials and applications

11) Modern materials characterization techniques

Numerical examples will be done using Excel and VPython, as appropriate.

Prerequisites: Algebra-level knowledge of Newtonian mechanics, Electricity and Magnetism will be assumed. Some calculus (primarily derivatives and partial derivatives) and vectors will be used. These will be developed in class, but students will benefit greatly if they have a chance to review them on their own ahead of time. The mathematical level will be somewhere between standard ASU algebra-level and calculus-level courses.

Lecture style: There will be little lecturing in the traditional sense. There will be group activities and occasional handouts. Depending on the activities, the students will perform experiments, run computer simulations, or work in groups at a whiteboard. Often the students will be divided into groups to work on different problems and report their results later to the entire class.

If the particular session requires working as separate groups, the entire class will sit together to draw conclusions at the end of the session. Where appropriate, at the end of a session the group will discuss the possible uses of the topic in a high-school context.