Programme And Module Handbook
Course Details in 2027/28 Session

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Module Title LM Soft Matter
Department Chemistry
Module Code 03 28081
Module Lead Dr Melanie Britton
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 soft matter course will cover a diverse range of soft structures, which include colloids, polymers, liquid crystals, surfactants and micelles. While these structures are indispensable in our everyday life and widely used in many consumer products, the science of soft matter is also critical to the understanding of living matter. The first part of the course will provide a brief overview of two of the most important classes of soft matter: colloids and liquid crystals. The interactions that determine the phase behaviour of these materials will be discussed, along with the experimental techniques that are commonly used to investigate soft matter. Specific examples of phase transitions in soft matter will be considered to discuss their thermodynamics and kinetics. The second part of the course will focus on surfactants, micelles and microemulsions. The factors that influence their structure and dynamics will be reviewed, along with the experimental techniques used to characterise these complex systems.
Learning Outcomes By the end of the module students should be able to:
  • Understand and explain soft matter, focusing on a few specific classes of materials and emphasising their unifying features;
  • Understand and explain the physical principles that govern the structures and properties of soft matter;
  • Discuss the importance of soft materials in a range of applications;
  • Describe and explain relevant theoretical foundations and experimental techniques in the context of the study of soft matter;
  • Apply this knowledge and understanding to the solution of unfamiliar problems;
  • Demonstrate an ability to work independently, i.e. adopt student-centred study modes.
Assessment 28081-01 : Module Assessment : Exam (School Arranged) - Written Unseen (100%)
Assessment Methods & Exceptions Worksheets (20%) and exam (80%)
Reading List