Materials Chemistry (Adv) (CHEM3912)


This course concerns the inorganic chemistry of solid-state materials: compounds that possess 'infinite' bonding networks. The extended structure of solid materials gives rise to a wide range of important chemical, mechanical, electrical, magnetic and optical properties. Consequently, such materials are of enormous technological significance as well as fundamental curiosity. In this course you will learn how chemistry can be used to design and synthesize novel materials with desirable properties. The course will start with familiar molecules such as C60 and examine their solid states to understand how the nature of chemical bonding changes in the solid state, leading to new properties such as electronic conduction. This will be the basis for a broader examination of how chemistry is related to structure, and how structure is related to properties such as catalytic activity, mechanical strength, magnetism, and superconductivity. The symmetry of solids will be used explain how their structures are classified, how they can transform between related structures when external conditions such as temperature, pressure and electric field are changed, and how this can be exploited in technological applications such as sensors and switches. Key techniques used to characterise solid-state materials will be covered, particularly X-ray diffraction, microscopy, and physical property measurements. CHEM3912 students attend the same lectures as CHEM3112 students, but attend an additional advanced seminar series comprising one lecture a week for 12 weeks.

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Further unit of study information


Two 1-hour lectures, one 1-hour seminar and one 4-hour practical per week.


One 2-hour exam, written assignments, prac reports (100%)

Faculty/department permission required?


Unit of study rules

Prerequisites and assumed knowledge

WAM of 65 or greater and (Credit or better in (CHEM2401 or CHEM2911 or CHEM2915)) and (Credit or better in (CHEM2402 or CHEM2912 or CHEM2916))



Study this unit outside a degree

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.