It's a Material World-What's It Made Of?-Intensive Winter 2020

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Class Details

We’ll talk about how underlying atomic and molecular scale structure gives rise to physical properties that you already have an intuitive sense for: things like hardness, softness, elasticity, color, brittleness, conductivity, transparency… Once we understand how these properties arise, we can start thinking about how and why we use certain materials for particular applications and consider the historical and societal changes that result from choosing or developing new materials for those specific applications. What kinds of materials (or innovations in the skills or techniques used to produce them) have been valued over time? What has been the impact of these technological advances? From there, we can start to think about how to design new materials with new kinds of properties or combinations of properties. We’ll look at old materials as well as new, and venture a bit into the modern world of materials, which involves design and characterization of meso and nanoscale structures. We’ll take a little time to do some lab experiments as well, to give you a peek at some strategies used in nanofabrication, as well a chance to use some of the kinds of instrumentation used in studying nanoscale materials. Because this course is designed to count for both a regular full semester credit as well as a winter study credit, it will necessarily be a fairly intense experience. We’re going to be moving through material pretty quickly, and it’ll be hard for you to tackle the problems that you’ll need to on your own at this pace in addition to doing the readings and going over class notes. So rather than structure the course to be 3 hours of uninterrupted class time/day followed by many hours of trying to do the rest of the work on your own, the course will be structured in order to provide a lot of help along the way. We’ll be meeting together for more hours each day, and we’ll use the extra time to do a lot of problem solving work together, as this is really the best way to work through material, as well as to do a lot of demos that will illustrate what we’re talking about. There will be a great deal of support available from course TAs, who will help with the problem solving during the day, as well as be available some evenings for additional help on problem sets, as well as preparation for exams. We’ll also break up the classwork with a few days of lab experiments, which will be a chance to try out some new techniques used in nanoscale fabrication, and get a feel for some of the challenges in studying things at this scale. There won’t be any lab reports or separate homework associated with the labs that we do, though it’s possible that there may be some questions on problem sets or exams that are associated with things you’ll have encountered in lab. This course will be a non-majors level introduction to materials chemistry, with no chemistry background required.
The Class: Format: lecture
Limit: 15
Grading: pass/fail only
Requirements/Evaluation: a series of problem sets, two exams, and a final
Prerequisites: permission of a dean
Enrollment Preferences: students who need to make up a deficiency
Unit Notes: This course is designed to count for both full semester and Winter Study credit. Once a dean approves enrollment, the Registrar's Office will register students in both CHEM 100 and CHEM 41.

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