CHEM 3212 - Fundamentals of Materials III

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2017

This course focuses on fundamental aspects of the physical chemistry of materials. It addresses novel nanostructured materials, and the recent advances (including fabrication, applications, and limitations) in using these materials in industry, medicine, and telecommunication. Subnano assemblies are discussed, including topics covering aspects of self-assembly of atoms, C60, fullerenes, nanotubes, rare gas clusters, nanodroplets, metal clusters and surface techniques. The physical properties of important general classes of soft materials including colloids, polymers, and liquid crystals is also addressed

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code CHEM 3212
    Course Fundamentals of Materials III
    Coordinating Unit School of Physical Sciences
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 9 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites CHEM 2510 & CHEM 2520 or equivalent
    Assumed Knowledge CHEM 3111
    Course Description This course focuses on fundamental aspects of the physical chemistry of materials. It addresses novel nanostructured materials, and the recent advances (including fabrication, applications, and limitations) in using these materials in industry, medicine, and telecommunication. Subnano assemblies are discussed, including topics covering aspects of self-assembly of atoms, C60, fullerenes, nanotubes, rare gas clusters, nanodroplets, metal clusters and surface techniques. The physical properties of important general classes of soft materials including colloids, polymers, and liquid crystals is also addressed
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Associate Professor David Huang

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1 Describe and explain the physical properties and applications of important classes of functional materials, including nanostructured optical and electronic materials, sub-nano assemblies of atoms (fullerenes, helium nanodroplets, metal clusters), and soft materials (colloids, surfactants, polymers).
    2 Apply simple physical models to predict the properties of functional materials.
    3 Summarise the assumptions underlying simple physical models for predicting the properties of functional materials and evaluate the accuracy of these models.
    4 Demonstrate proficiency in undertaking individual and/or team-based laboratory investigations using appropriate apparatus and safe laboratory practices.
    5 Collect, record, analyse and interpret results of an experiment, and effectively communicate these results in written reports.
    6 Design and plan an investigation by selecting and applying appropriate practical and/or theoretical techniques or tools.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources

    There is no prescribed text for this course.

    Recommended Resources
    • 'Organic Chemistry’ (Bruice, 5th Edition, Pearson Education, 2007)
    • 'Organic Chemistry’ (Clayden, Greeves, Warren and Wothers, Oxford University Press, 2001)
    • 'Inorganic Chemistry’ (Shriver & Atkins, 4rh Edition, Oxford University Press, 2006)
    • 'Physical Chemistry’ (Atkins, 8th Edition, Oxford University Press, 2006)
    • 'A Guide to Lasers in Chemistry’ (Van Hecke & Karukstis, Jones & Bartlett, 1998)
    • 'Spectrometric Identification of Organic Compounds' (Silverstein, 7th Edition, Wiley Press, 2005)
    • 'SI Chemical Data' (Aylward, 6th Edition, Wiley Press, 2007)
    • 'Modern Physical Organic Chemistry’ (Ansyln and Dougherty, University Science Books)
    • 'Molecular Spectroscopy’ (Banwell, 4th Ed., McGraw Hill, 1994) out of print
    • 'Soft Condensed Matter' (Jones, Oxford University Press, 2002)
    • 'Introduction to Soft Matter' (Hamley, Wiley, 2007)
    • 'Structured Fluids: Polymers, Colloids, Surfactants' (Witten & Pincus, Oxford University Press, 2010)

    All of these texts (except where noted) are available for purchase from UniBooks and all are available for loan from the Barr Smith library. Some are also available for consultation in the Chemistry Resource Centre (Rm 120, Johnson Laboratories).

    References to other material and recent literature will be given in lectures.

    Maths Resources

    The Maths Learning Centre (MLC) helps all students learn and use the maths they need at uni. The MLC offers seminars, workshops, online, and print resources.  It also run a drop-in room in Hub Central from 10am to 4pm Monday to Friday during teaching weeks. For more information, visit

    For chemistry-specific maths help, visit

    Online Learning

    MyUni: Teaching materials and course documentation will be posted on the MyUni website (

  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes

    Lectures 12 x 2-hour sessions with one session per week
    Practicals 10 x 6-hour sessions with one session per week
    Tutorials 11 x 50-minute sessions with one session per week


    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    A student enrolled in a 3 unit course, such as this, should expect to spend, on average 12 hours per week on the studies required. This includes both the formal contact time required to the course (e.g., lectures and practicals), as well as non-contact time (e.g., reading and revision).

    Learning Activities Summary

    Nanostructural Materials
    Sub-Nano Assemblies
    Soft Materials

    Practical exercises will provide students with "hands on" experience in the quantitative use of various analytical methods. In addition, students will be involved in the analysis of "real world" chemical samples.

    Tutorials will be used to reinforce the concepts introduced in lectures through a combination of quantitative problem solving (what is present, and in what quantity), a discussion of the operational principles, including the strengths and weaknesses of various quantitative chemical methods, and consideration of appropriate possible solutions to chemical problems that have been identified through quantitative chemical analysis.

    Specific Course Requirements
    Attendance is compulsory at all scheduled chemistry practical sessions. The learning outcomes for this course are substantially dependent on laboratory experience and practice. Therefore, missing any practical class in a semester will result in a grade of FAIL being recorded for the course. Students with medical or compassionate reasons for non-attendance will be given an opportunity to make up missed practical sessions.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment taskType of assessmentPercentage of total assessment for grading purposesHurdle (Yes/No)Outcomes being assessedApprox timing of assessment
    Summative Assignments Formative & Summative 10% No 1-4 Weeks 5,9,13
    Practical work Formative & Summative 30% No 1–6 Weekly; major reports due every 3 weeks
    Exam Summative 60% Yes (45%) 1–4 Examination period
    Assessment Related Requirements

    Practical work is compulsory – This includes attendance, conduct of required experimental work, attendance at demonstrator interviews (as required) and submission of laboratory reports. Practical work constitutes 30% of the total assessment.

    To pass this course students must:

    • Attend all practicals.  If students do not meet the attendance requirement for practicals they will receive a Fail Grade. There is the opportunity for students to make up missed practicals.
    • Attain a minimum of 45% for the exam:
      Students who attain a final course grade of at least 45% but do not attain a minimum of 45% for the exam may be offered an Additional Academic Exam during the Replacement/Additional Assessment period, in line with the Modified Arrangements for Coursework Assessment Policy.
    Assessment Detail
    Summative Assignments
    Students will complete assignments on the course material. There will be 3 assignments, each worth 3.33%. The topics are Nanostructural Materials, Sub-Nano Assemblies and Soft Materials. Each assignment will consist of a series of short-answer and/or multiple-choice questions.

    This will come from assessment of experiment reports (3 major reports; 6  minor reports submitted in the lab session). Each major report is worth 7.5% of the assessment and each minor report is worth 1.25% of the assessment..Students will complete 3 experiments over 9 weeks (1 experiment every 3 weeks). They will submit a weekly report to discuss their progress (except one week) and a major report on completion of each of the experiments every three weeks. In general, each experiment will be assessed on laboratory results (yield, appearance of product, melting point, graphs, quality of data etc.) as well as the laboratory note books and report.  

    The end-of-semester examination will be based primarily on lecture/tutorial material and will consist of a series of short-answer and/or multiple-choice questions.



    Submission of Assigned Work
    Coversheets must be completed and attached to all submitted work. Coversheets can be obtained from the School Office (room G33 Physics) or from MyUNI. Work should be submitted via the assignment drop box at the School Office.

    Extensions for Assessment Tasks
    Extensions of deadlines for assessment tasks may be allowed for reasonable causes. Such situations would include compassionate and medical grounds of the severity that would justify the awarding of a supplementary examination. Evidence for the grounds must be provided when an extension is requested. Students are required to apply for an extension to the Course Coordinator before the assessment task is due. Extensions will not be provided on the grounds of poor prioritising of time. The assessment extension application form can be obtained from: 

    Late submission of assessments
    If an extension is not applied for, or not granted then a penalty for late submission will apply. A penalty of 10% of the value of the assignment for each calendar day that is late (i.e. weekends count as 2 days), up to a maximum of 50% of the available marks will be applied. This means that an assignment that is 5 days or more late without an approved extension can only receive a maximum of 50% of the mark.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.