MEng Materials Science and Engineering with Textiles Technology / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Functional Properties

Course unit fact file
Unit code MATS16302
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 4
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Department of Materials
Available as a free choice unit? No


The unit reviews the functional properties of materials and explains how they arise in terms of the underlying structure-property relationships. 


The unit aims to:

  • Provide an overview of the dielectric, ferroelectric, thermoelectric, magnetic, optical, semiconducting and thermal properties of materials. 
  • Introduce the principles underlying the exploitation of functional materials in practical devices.  
  • Explain the influence of size effects on functional properties.


Learning outcomes

A greater depth of the learning outcomes will be covered in the following sections:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Intellectual skills
  • Practical skills
  • Transferable skills and personal qualities

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures, on-line tests, question sheets, tutorials, laboratories, recommended textbooks, web resources, past exam papers, electronic supporting information (Blackboard) and peer-assisted study sessions (PASS)


Knowledge and understanding

a)      Lean to compare and discuss the functional behaviour of different types of materials.

b)      Explain how different types of functional properties can be measured.

c)      Obtain an understanding of the mechanisms that give rise to the different types of functional behaviour.

d)      Explain the relationships between structure and functional properties in a wide range of materials.

e)      Describe the factors that influence the behaviour of a material as its size is reduced.

f)       Discuss how specific combinations of structural and functional properties are exploited to produce practical devices.

Intellectual skills

a)      Achieve the ability to select appropriate functional materials for specific device applications.

b)      Gain an understanding of the effect of changing the chemical composition and structure of a material on its functional properties.

Practical skills

a)      Understand the practical aspects related to the measurement of fundamental magnetic, dielectric and semiconducting properties.

b)      Understand the practical aspects related to the assessment of the performance of solar cells.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

a)      Convert real application examples into equations and numerical answers.

b)      Develop techniques for estimating the results from calculations.

c)      Work effectively in a group to solve problems.

d)      Compose simple technical reports based on laboratory tests or model data.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 70%
Written assignment (inc essay) 30%

Feedback methods

Feedback given (wriiten)

Recommended reading

  • “Materials Science and Engineering - An Introduction”, W. D. Callister, D. G. Rethwisch, Pub. Wiley, 2010.  
  • “Electroceramics”, A.J. Moulson and J.M. Herbert, Pub. Wiley, 2003.


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 20
Independent study hours
Independent study 80

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Ian Kinloch Unit coordinator

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