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Unit of study_

CHEM3119: Materials Chemistry

Semester 1, 2024 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

An extraordinarily diverse array of new and emerging technologies are founded on inorganic solid-state materials designed and characterised in chemistry laboratories. The key to their importance is that solid-state materials have scientifically and technologically important properties that are either absent or difficult to achieve in other states of matter, because they arise not simply from individual atoms and molecules, but from the emergence of collective interactions when they are organised into extended lattices. The unit will examine how a range of interesting chemical and physical properties arise in the solid state and discuss current and future technological applications for these properties. The unit will explore materials for industrial and environmental applications such as carbon dioxide capture and catalysis, energy applications like hydrogen fuel cells and lithium-ion batteries, and electronic applications such as superconductivity and photovoltaics. You will learn about the fundamental relationships between chemical composition, three-dimensional structure, and physical properties; how to measure and model them; and how to manipulate them in the pursuit of new and optimised functional materials for the devices of the future.

Unit details and rules

Unit code CHEM3119
Academic unit Chemistry Academic Operations
Credit points 6
CHEM3112 or CHEM3912 or CHEM3919
[(CHEM2401 or CHEM2911 or CHEM2915) and (CHEM2402 or CHEM2524 or CHEM2912 or CHEM2916 or CHEM2924)] or (CHEM2521 or CHEM2921 or CHEM2991)
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Brendan Kennedy,
Laboratory supervisor(s) Asaph Widmer-Cooper,
Lecturer(s) Kaye Minkyung Kang,
Brendan Kennedy,
Chris Ling,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Supervised exam
Final exam
Written examination made up of short answer questions
38% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Presentation hurdle task group assignment Laboratory Presentation
Presentation of results and discussion followed by questions.
9.5% Multiple weeks 5 minutes plus discussion
Outcomes assessed: LO6 LO7 LO8
Skills-based evaluation hurdle task Laboratory Report
Investigative report
14.2% Multiple weeks Up to 10 pages
Outcomes assessed: LO6 LO8 LO7
Skills-based evaluation hurdle task In-Laboratory Assessment
Working safely and cleanly, use of ELN and sample submission, intro manual.
16.3% Ongoing Continuous throughout laboratory session
Outcomes assessed: LO5 LO7 LO6
Online task In-Semester quiz
Online quiz
10% Week 07
Due date: 12 Apr 2024 at 23:59
25 minutes 10 questions
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO4 LO3 LO2
Assignment Written assignment
Written assignment.
12% Week 11
Due date: 12 May 2024 at 23:59
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
hurdle task = hurdle task ?
group assignment = group assignment ?

Assessment summary

  • Theory: The theory component represents 60% of the unit mark. The theory component of the course must be passed for the unit for the unit to be passed. This component comprises of an in-semester test, written assignment(s) and final examination. The final examination covers the whole of the lecture course and is made up of short answer questions. Questions from past exam papers will be available on the Canvas site for this unit. 
  • Replacement Exams: If a second replacement exam is required, this exam may be delivered via an alternative assessment method, such as a viva voce (oral exam). The alternative assessment will meet the same learning outcomes as the original exam. The format of the alternative assessment will be determined by the unit coordinator. 
  • Laboratory: The laboratory course represents 40% of the unit mark. It is assessed through lab reports and presentation. See Canvas for details. The laboratory course must be passed for the unit to be passed. 

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100

At HD level, a student demonstrates a flair for the subject as well as a detailed and comprehensive understanding of the unit material. A ‘High Distinction’ reflects exceptional achievement and is awarded to a student who demonstrates the ability to apply their subject knowledge and understanding to produce original solutions for novel or highly complex problems and/or comprehensive critical discussions of theoretical concepts.


75 - 84

At DI level, a student demonstrates an aptitude for the subject and a well-developed understanding of the unit material. A ‘Distinction’ reflects excellent achievement and is awarded to a student who demonstrates an ability to apply their subject knowledge and understanding of the subject to produce good solutions for challenging problems and/or a reasonably well-developed critical analysis of theoretical concepts.


65 - 74

At CR level, a student demonstrates a good command and knowledge of the unit material. A ‘Credit’ reflects solid achievement and is awarded to a student who has a broad general understanding of the unit material and can solve routine problems and/or identify and superficially discuss theoretical concepts.


50 - 64

At PS level, a student demonstrates proficiency in the unit material. A ‘Pass’ reflects satisfactory achievement and is awarded to a student who has threshold knowledge.


0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

This unit has an exception to the standard University policy or supplementary information has been provided by the unit coordinator. This information is displayed below:

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date: Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date. After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

Support for students

The Support for Students Policy 2023 reflects the University’s commitment to supporting students in their academic journey and making the University safe for students. It is important that you read and understand this policy so that you are familiar with the range of support services available to you and understand how to engage with them.

The University uses email as its primary source of communication with students who need support under the Support for Students Policy 2023. Make sure you check your University email regularly and respond to any communications received from the University.

Learning resources and detailed information about weekly assessment and learning activities can be accessed via Canvas. It is essential that you visit your unit of study Canvas site to ensure you are up to date with all of your tasks.

If you are having difficulties completing your studies, or are feeling unsure about your progress, we are here to help. You can access the support services offered by the University at any time:

Support and Services (including health and wellbeing services, financial support and learning support)
Course planning and administration
Meet with an Academic Adviser

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Multiple weeks Extended structures - metals, alloys, intermetallics, ionic compounds and covalent networks Lecture (5 hr) LO3 LO4
Chemistry of d and f block elements Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO3
Polymorphism Lecture (4 hr) LO1 LO2
Defects Lecture (4 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4
Extended electron transfer and spin ordering Lecture (8 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
13 x 4 hr laboratory classes Science laboratory (52 hr) LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
Week 01 Introduction to materials chemistry Lecture (1 hr) LO1
Week 13 Future directions and priorities in materials chemistry Lecture (2 hr) LO4

Attendance and class requirements

Failure to submit or attend compulsory assessment tasks or to attend classes to the required level will result in an Absent Fail (AF) for this unit.  The final exam in this unit is compulsory.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

See canvas for more details

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Explain the driving forces behind the formation of solid materials, transitions between materials with different structures but same composition and about key experimental and theoretical methods used in materials chemistry research, information they provide, their advantages and limitations.​
  • LO2. Recognise, interpret and experimentally determine the periodic crystal structures of non-molecular materials.
  • LO3. ​Examine classes of materials including alloys, intermetallics, ionic compounds, covalent networks and metal-organic frameworks.
  • LO4. Assess the physical properties of materials to their crystal structures and develop ways in which structures can be modified to optimise their properties for diverse technological applications.
  • LO5. Carry out experimental work safely and competently in a chemical laboratory​
  • LO6. ​Develop skills to work collaboratively in responsible data collection, analysis and communication and advance chemical enquiry.
  • LO7. ​Evaluate and interpret scientific information and experimental data and judge their reliability and significance
  • LO8. Communicate scientific information and laboratory findings appropriately both orally and through written work

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

Updated dates for 2024

Work, health and safety

We are governed by the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 and Codes of Practice. Penalties for non-compliance have increased. Everyone has a responsibility for health and safety at work. The University’s Work Health and Safety policy explains the responsibilities and expectations of workers and others, and the procedures for managing WHS risks associated with University activities.

General Laboratory Safety Rules

  • No eating or drinking is allowed in any laboratory under any circumstances
  • A laboratory coat and closed-toe shoes are mandatory
  • Follow safety instructions in your manual and posted in laboratories
  • In case of fire, follow instructions posted outside the laboratory door
  • First aid kits, eye wash and fire extinguishers are located in or immediately outside each laboratory
  • As a precautionary measure, it is recommended that you have a current tetanus immunisation. This can be obtained from University Health Service:


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.