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Structure of Materials, Part 3: Liquid Crystals, Defects, and Diffusion

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

About This Course

Structure determines so much about a material: its properties, its potential applications, and its performance within those applications. This course is the finale 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 3 begins with an exploration of quasi-, plastic, and liquid crystals. Next, we will learn how properties of materials are influenced and can be modified by structural defects. We will show that point defects are present in all crystals at finite temperatures and how their presence governs diffusion in materials. Next, we will explore dislocations in materials. We will introduce the descriptors that are used to describe dislocations, we will learn about dislocation motion and consider how dislocations dramatically affect the strength of materials. Finally, we will explore how defects can be used to strengthen materials, and we will learn about the properties of other structural defects such as stacking faults and grain boundaries.

Learning Objectives

  • The properties of liquid crystals and how these materials are used in modern display technologies
  • The presence of defects in all crystals at equilibrium
  • How defects impact numerous properties of materials—from the conductivity of semiconductors to the strength of structural materials

Format of this Course

This course includes lectures, homeworks, and partial quizzes.

Recommended Prerequisites

University-level introductory chemistry, Basic linear algebra; plus parts 1 and 2 of the 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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Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to the most common questions and find information on further assistance here.
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    6 weeks
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