Programme And Module Handbook
Course Details in 2027/28 Session

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Module Title LM Materials Chemistry
Department Chemistry
Module Code 03 24508
Module Lead Dr Josh Makepeace
Level Masters Level
Credits 10
Semester Semester 2
Restrictions The module is available to all students on the above programmes and is offered to suitably qualified occasional students. For the latter, enrolment is determined on a case-by-case basis using academic transcripts.
Contact Hours Lecture-20 hours
Guided independent study-80 hours
Total: 100 hours
Description This module is composed of three components. The first covers aspects of crystallography and diffraction that underpins the studies of crystalline materials. The second component of the module relates to the chemistry of the hydrogen economy, and addresses all aspects of the use of hydrogen as an energy carrier with a particular emphasis on the chemistry involved. The final component details the chemistry and applications of ionic conductors, addressing the basic features of ionic conduction in solids as well as their applications with a focus on Li ion batteries and solid oxide fuel cells.
Learning Outcomes

By the end of the module students should be able to:

  • demonstrate an understanding of the principles and concepts delivered in the course;
  • Apply their acquired knowledge to the solution of relevant problems;
  • demonstrate an ability to work independently, i.e. adopt student-centred study modes;
  • understand the role of hydrogen as an energy carrier and that as a fuel it is only as green as the means of its production;
  • explain the chemistry behind the current and proposed processes for the production of hydrogen and outline the advantages and disadvantages of each;
  • explain the principles of operation of photovoltaic and photoelectrochemical cells;
  • describe the main current and proposed methods for the storage of hydrogen and outline the advantages and disadvantages of each;
  • estimate the maximum amount of hydrogen that may be stored on a solid through physisorption and compare with experimental measurements;
  • analyse the thermodynamic requirements for convenient solid storage and distinguish between thermodynamic and kinetic reversibility;
  • derive thermodynamic parameters for the formation of hydrides using pressure composition isotherms and the van’t Hoff equation;
  • understand why the thermodynamics of hydrogen producing reactions are fundamentally different from the thermal decomposition of hydrides;
  • use the second law of thermodynamics to derive an expression for the efficiency of energy conversion upon oxidation of a fuel;
  • compare theoretical and practical conversion efficiencies for the conversion of hydrogen to water in an internal combustion engine and in fuel cells;
  • discuss possible applications of different types of fuel cell in a hydrogen economy;
  • outline the different types of defects in solids;
  • understand why some solids show high ionic conduction, including mechanistic aspects of the conduction process (including cooperative features);
  • understand the dependence of conductivity on p(O2) and p(H2O) in both ionic conductors and mixed (ionic + electronic) conductors;
  • outline the main features of the operation of a Li ion battery;
  • compare and contrast the different materials used in Li ion batteries;
  • calculate the capacity of a Li ion battery material, as well as the current required to charge a battery at a specific rate;
  • outline the main features of the operation of a fuel cell as well as the types of fuel cell;
  • calculate the open circuit voltage of a hydrogen fuel cell as a function of the fuel used;
  • calculate and compare theoretical and practical conversion efficiencies of fuel cells to current methods for power generation;
  • outline the key features of solid oxide fuel cells/polymer fuel cells, including an understanding of the roles and limitations of currently used materials;
  • discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the different fuels, which may be employed in solid oxide fuel cells;
  • understand how to take the crystallographic information reported in a paper and produce a packing diagram as well as assess the quality of the study;
  • outline the procedure of solving unknown crystal structures;
  • understand how diffractometers work;
  • describe the use of laboratory X-ray, synchrotron X-ray and neutron powder diffraction techniques;
  • undertake basic analysis of X-ray powder diffraction patterns;
  • explain whole powder pattern fitting techniques;
  • understand Pair Distribution Function analysis and the information contained in a pattern.
Assessment 24508-01 : Exam : Exam (Centrally Timetabled) - Written Seen (100%)
Assessment Methods & Exceptions Worksheets (20%) and exam (80%)
Reading List