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Structure of Materials, Part 2: The Crystalline State

Access on MITx Online

This course is currently available on MITx Online with Certificate enrollment open.

About This Course

Structure – or the arrangement of materials’ internal components – determines virtually everything about a material: its properties, its potential applications, and its performance within those applications. This course is the first in a three-part series from MIT’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering that explores the structure of a wide variety of materials with current-day engineering applications. Taken together, these three courses provide similar content to MIT’s sophomore-level materials structure curriculum.

Part 1 begins with an introduction to amorphous materials. We explore glasses and polymers, learn about the factors that influence their structure, and learn how materials scientists measure and describe the structure of these materials. Then we begin a discussion of the crystalline state, exploring what it means for a material to be crystalline, how we describe periodic arrangement of atoms in a crystal, and how we can determine the structure of crystals through x-ray diffraction.

If you would like to explore the structure of materials further, we encourage you to enroll in Part 2 and Part 3 of the course.

Learning Objectives

  • The structural difference between a glass and a crystal
  • How we describe the structure of amorphous materials
  • What is the structure of glasses and polymers
  • What all crystals have in common and how do we differentiate them
  • The principles of x-ray diffraction that allow us to probe the structure of crystals

Recommended Prerequisities

University-level introductory chemistry, Basic linear algebra, part 1 of this course (see Related Content below)

License Type

This course may contain material that is © third parties. Unless otherwise indicated, all content is © All Rights Reserved by the course instructor(s).

Course Staff

Course Staff Image #1

Silvija Gradečak


Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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    5 weeks
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