CHEM30090 Chemistry of Materials

Academic Year 2021/2022

An introduction to inorganic and organic materials will be given which includes the design and function of commodity polymers and selected high-performance and functional materials. Examples include biodegradable polymers and polymers for biomedical uses, structure and composition of high-temperature superconductors and the design and function of photovoltaic cells.

Show/hide contentOpenClose All

Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module student are expected to1) Relate polymer properties to macromolecular structure when evaluating polymer crystallinity, glass and melt transition temperatures, and elastomeric vs. plastic behaviour. 2) Demonstrate knowledge of the main features of polymer chain growth in step and chain polymerisations. 3) Outline reactions and reaction conditions of industrial and laboratory processes relevant to the manufacture of polyamides, polyesters, polyurethanes and polymers derived from olefin monomers such as styrene, vinyl chloride, and acrylates. 4) Describe examples of nanostructure thermoplastic elastomers, examples of biodegradable polymers and of polymers that can be used in medicine. 5) Illustrate composition of high-temperature superconductor and the main characteristics of photovoltaic cells.

Indicative Module Content:

History of polymer discovery and design,
semisynthetic polymers via modification of natural polymers,
fully synthetic polymers made from petrochemicals
Structures and properties of commercial polymer materials manufactured via step growth polymerisation:
Nylons, polyaramides, polyesters, amorphous polycarbonate, flexible polyurethane foams, rigid polyurethane foams, thermoplastic polyurethane elastomers.
Structures and properties of commercial polymer materials manufactured via chain growth polymerisation involving free-radical, cationic, anionic and transition metal catalysis polymerisation methods. Examples include polystyrene and modified polystyrenes, polyacrylonitrile, polyacrylates including superglue, polyethylene and polymers obtained via ring-opening polymerisations such as Nylon-6, polyoxymethylene and polycaprolactone.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours




Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
This is a predominantly lecture-based module. The mode of delivery is blended including face-to-face and online modes. Further: the students will independently learn about recent research in the field of inorganic materials, prepare an oral presentation and learn presentation skills via delivering the oral presentation and discuss this reseach with staff and peers.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the mode of delivery, assessment and content of the module may be subject to change. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations
Learning Recommendations:

Engineering and physics students are encouraged to register for CHEM30090, but those students must take the 6 tutorials.
Chemistry students, and those who have achieved the learning outcomes of either CHEM20060 or CHEM10050 or equivalent modules covering the basis of organic chemistry do not need to take the tutorials.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Examination: End of term Examination 2 hour End of Trimester Exam No Graded No


Continuous Assessment: Assessment of exercises Varies over the Trimester n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

The class will be informed about the correct answers to the continuous assessment exercises after the students have completed the respective assessment and they will be given on overview of typical errors made.

Name Role
Assoc Professor Paul Evans Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Eoghan McGarrigle Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Assoc Professor Grace Morgan Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - Autumn: All Weeks Mon 16:00 - 18:50
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 1, 2, 3, 4 Wed 14:00 - 14:50
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 Wed 14:00 - 14:50