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Year of entry: 2021
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Course unit details:
Soft Matter Physics
|Unit level||Level 4|
|Teaching period(s)||Semester 2|
|Offered by||Department of Physics & Astronomy|
|Available as a free choice unit?||No|
Soft Matter Physics
|Unit title||Unit code||Requirement type||Description|
|Applications of Quantum Physics||PHYS30101||Pre-Requisite||Compulsory|
|Mathematical Fundamentals of Quantum Mechanics||PHYS30201||Pre-Requisite||Compulsory|
2. to introduce the physics of soft materials including liquid crystals, polymers and colloids.
3. to point out the connections between different soft matter materials, in particular liquid crystals, polymers and colloids.
This course unit detail provides the framework for delivery in 20/21 and may be subject to change due to any additional Covid-19 impact. Please see Blackboard / course unit related emails for any further updates.
On completion successful students will be able to:
1. Explain the general concepts of soft matter physics.
2. Describe concepts of the physics of liquid crystals, polymers and colloids.
3. Give examples and explanations of phase transitions in soft matter.
4. Describe the connections between liquid crystals, polymers and colloids.
5. Explain key experimental techniques in relation to soft condensed matter.
1. Introduction to Soft Materials
Classification in terms of their thermal, mechanical and often unusual physical properties.
2. Liquid crystals
General structure of liquid crystalline molecules, structure of phases.
3. The liquid crystalline state
Order parameter and Maier-Saupe theory.
4. Chirality, optical properties, ferroelectricity and Landau theory
5. Experimental techniques in the study of liquid crystal properties
6. Introduction to polymers
Terminology and nomenclature molar masses and distributions, chain - dimensions and structures.
7. Polymers in solution
Ideal solutions, Flory-Huggins theory
8. Mechanical properties of polymers and visco-elastic behaviour.
9. The glass transition
General phenomenon and theoretical models, experimental determination
10. Liquid crystal polymers, elastomers
Stability, DLVO theory and gels
12. Association colloids, Lyotropic Liquid Crystals and Langmuir-Blogett films
There will be questions given out with the lecture summaries every week. Solutions will be discussed in three Q&A sessions which will provide feedback to students on their present understanding of course material covered.
Collings, P.J. & Hird, M. Introduction to Liquid Crystals
Hamley, I.W. Introduction to Soft Matter (Wiley) Chichester, 2000
Jones, R.A.L. Soft Condensed Matter (OUP) Oxford, 2002
Kleman, M., Laverentovich O. Soft Matter Physics (Springer), 2003
Rubinstein, M., Colby, R. H., Polymer Physics (OUP), 2003
Tabor, D., Gases liquids & solids CUP, 1991
|Scheduled activity hours|
|Assessment written exam||1.5|
|Independent study hours|
|Ingo Dierking||Unit coordinator|