Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2022-2023 (archived)

Module CHEM1127: Introduction to Materials Chemistry

Department: Chemistry

CHEM1127: Introduction to Materials Chemistry

Type Open Level 1 Credits 10 Availability Available in 2022/23 Module Cap Location Durham


  • A-level or equivalent in Chemistry AND Mathematics.


  • Core Chemistry 1 (CHEM1078) AND Mathematical and Experimental Tools required in Chemistry (CHEM1111) AND Practical Chemistry 1B (CHEM1107).

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To introduce the fundamentals of solid state and materials chemistry.


  • Bonding in solids (extended and molecular; the ionic model and its limitations).
  • Inorganic structural chemistry (common structure types and rationalisation of structures).
  • Basic solid state chemistry.
  • Energetics (lattice energies and consequences of lattice energies).
  • Introduction to functional materials (selected properties and examples).
  • Introduction to polymers, synthesis, characterisation and applications.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • describe the bonding in solids and understand the difference between extended and molecular solids;
  • describe the ionic model and its limitations;
  • describe systematically the 3D structures of simple metals and compounds, and perform simple calculations related to these structures;
  • relate properties of simple functional materials to their structures;
  • describe and classify polymers according to structure and/or properties;
  • relate macroscopic polymer properties to the underlying chemical structure and chain architecture;
  • explain simple polymer synthesis.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Solve chemical problems.
Key Skills:
  • Apply tools to develop and solve problems.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Lectures are used to convey concepts, demonstrate what is required to be learned and the application of the theory to practical examples. When appropriate, lectures will be supported by written material, or by information and relevant links on Blackboard Learn Ultra.
  • Problem classes are given to support active learning of the concepts given in the lectures and to practice examples of problems. In preparation for the problem classes students attempt a set of defined problems. Problem classes will be formatively assessed. All work will be returned with feedback. Problem classes will be interleaved with those in METRiC.
  • Private study should be used by students to develop their subject-specific knowledge and self-motivation, through reading textbooks and literature.
  • Students will be able to obtain further help in their studies by approaching their lecturers, either after lectures or at other mutually convenient times.
  • Student performance will be summatively assessed through examinations. Examinations test students' ability to work under pressure under timed conditions, to prepare for examinations and direct their own programme of learning and revision, and develop key time management skills. The examination will provide the means for students to demonstrate the acquisition of subject knowledge and the development of their problem-solving skills.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 14 1 per week 1 Hour 14
Problem Classes 3 1 per week 1 Hour 3
Preparation and Reading 83
Total 100

Summative Assessment

Component: Examinations Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Written examination 2 hours 100%

Formative Assessment:

Problem classes/workshop set work.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University