Membranes, Self Assembly and Surfaces (CHEM3116)


Away from the covalent and ionic interactions that hold molecules and solids together is the world of fragile objects - folded polymers, membranes, surface adsorption and stable molecular aggregates - held together by weak forces such as van der Waals and the hydrophobic effect. The use of molecules rather than atoms as building blocks means that there are an enormous number of possibilities for stable aggregates with interesting chemical, physical and biological properties, many of which still wait to be explored. In this course we will examine the molecular interactions that drive self assembly and the consequences of these interactions in supramolecular assembly, lipid membrane formations and properties, microemulsions, polymer conformation and dynamics and range of fundamental surface properties including adhesion, wetting and colloidal stability.

Our courses that offer this unit of study

Further unit of study information


Two 1-hour lectures per week and two 4-hour practicals per week for half of semester.


Assignment, prac reports and oral, final examination (100%)



Faculty/department permission required?


Unit of study rules


(CHEM2401 or CHEM2911 or CHEM2915) and (CHEM2402 or CHEM2912 or CHEM2916)



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Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.