• Length:
    5 Weeks
  • Effort:
    6–8 hours per week
  • Price:

    FREE
    Add a Verified Certificate for $50 USD

  • Institution
  • Subject:
  • Level:
    Intermediate
  • Language:
    English
  • Video Transcript:
    English

Prerequisites

  • University-level intro to chemistry
  • Basic linear algebra

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.

Photo by User: Bill Burris on Flickr. (CC BY-SA) 2.0

What you'll learn

  • 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
Part 1: An Introduction to Materials Science
  • Structure of materials roadmap
  • States of matter and bonding
Part 2: Descriptors
  • Descriptors: concept and function
  • Free volume
  • Pair distribution function
Part 3: Glasses
  • Glass processing methods
  • Continuous network model
  • Network modifiers
Part 4: Polymers
  • Random walk model
  • Chain-to-chain end distance
  • Order and disorder in polymers
Part 5: An Introduction to the Crystalline State
  • Translational symmetry
  • The crystalline state in 2D
  • The crystalline state in 3D
Part 6: Real and Reciprocal Space
  • Miller indices
  • Real space
  • Reciprocal space
Part 7: X-Ray Diffraction
  • Bragg’s Law
  • Diffraction examples

Meet your instructors

Silvija Gradečak
Professor
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Pursue a Verified Certificate to highlight the knowledge and skills you gain $50.00

View a PDF of a sample edX certificate
  • Official and Verified

    Receive an instructor-signed certificate with the institution's logo to verify your achievement and increase your job prospects

  • Easily Shareable

    Add the certificate to your CV or resume, or post it directly on LinkedIn

  • Proven Motivator

    Give yourself an additional incentive to complete the course

  • Support our Mission

    EdX, a non-profit, relies on verified certificates to help fund free education for everyone globally

Who can take this course?

Unfortunately, learners from one or more of the following countries or regions will not be able to register for this course: Iran, Cuba and the Crimea region of Ukraine. While edX has sought licenses from the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to offer our courses to learners in these countries and regions, the licenses we have received are not broad enough to allow us to offer this course in all locations. EdX truly regrets that U.S. sanctions prevent us from offering all of our courses to everyone, no matter where they live.