Functional Materials 

Module Title - Functional Materials
Number of credits – 10

Module description

The module will introduce the important role played by functional materials in a wide range of application areas including energy, communications and transport. Materials to be studied will encompass a selection from ferroelectric, piezoelectric and dielectric ceramics; ionic and electronic conducting ceramics; semiconductors; magnetic, superconducting and magnetostrictive materials.

The important underlying scientific concepts for each material and application area will be elucidated. A number of key technologically important applications will be studied in detail.

The transport area will include the role of magnets and superconductors in magnetic levitation (maglev), and magnets, magnetostrictives and piezoelectrics for automobile applications.

Functional ceramic materials will be introduced for a range of communication and environmental monitoring applications. In each case fabrication and processing routes appropriate for each group of materials in the particular application area or device will be introduced and the important links between processing, microstructure and properties will be quantified.

The range of applications will require detailed exploration of thin film, thick film, bulk and fibre processing routes, and exploration of specialised fabrication routes for magnetic, superconductor and functional ceramic materials.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students should be able to:

  • Appreciate and describe the wide use of functional materials in a range of technologically important application areas;
  • Understand key concepts of magnetic, dielectric, ferroelectric, piezoelectric and superconducting materials relevant to their use in engineering applications;
  • Describe general fabrication processes relevant to ceramic and powder-based materials;
  • Understand and quantify process-microstructure-property relationships in a range of functional materials applications:
  • Describe specialist materials fabrication routes for specific properties and applications.