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MATSE 400 - Crystal Chemistry Sample Syllabus

This is a sample syllabus.

This sample syllabus is a representative example of the information and materials included in this course. Information about course assignments, materials, and dates listed here is subject to change at any time. Definitive course details and materials will be available in the official course syllabus, in Canvas, when the course begins.


Crystal chemistry is concerned with the systematics of crystal structures as determined by ionic sizes and characteristics of chemical bonds and with changes in crystal structure with variations in temperature and pressure. This course is an introduction to the principles of crystal chemistry and its use in describing structure-property relations in solids. The principles that govern assembly of crystal and glass structures are described, models of many technologically important crystal structures are built, and the impact of structure on the fundamental mechanisms responsible for many physical properties are discussed.


At the successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • To identify important raw materials and minerals as well as their names and chemical formulas.
  • To describe the crystal structure of important materials and to be able to build their atomic models.
  • To outline the systematics of crystal and glass chemistry.
  • To explain how physical and chemical properties are related to crystal structure and microstructure.
  • To discuss the engineering significance of these ideas and how they relate to industrial products: past, present, and future.

Required Materials

The materials listed here represent those that may be included in this course. Students will find a definitive list in the course syllabus, in Canvas, when the course begins.

Required Textbook

Trolier-McKinstry and Newnham, Materials Engineering: Bonding, Structure, and Structure-Property Relationships, Cambridge University Press, New York, NY 2017. (ISBN 978-1107103788)

Required Model Building Sets

You are required to have a crystal structure model set in this course, you can borrow a model set from the EMS library prior to the first lab or order one online.


MATSE 201, MATSE 202, MATH 220, MATH 231, MATH 251.


We have worked hard to make this the most effective and convenient educational experience possible. How much and how well you learn is dependent on your attitude, diligence, and willingness to ask for clarifications or help when you need them. We are here to help you succeed. Please keep up with the class schedule and take advantage of opportunities to communicate with us and with your fellow students. You can expect to spend an average of 10 – 12 hours per week on class work.

Major Assignments

  • 10 Homework/Problem Sets - 30%
    The homework assignments are open-book. They are not a collaborative effort, you must work alone.
  • 14 Lab Quizzes - 6%
    There will be one quiz each lab class.
  • 14 Lab Model Building Assignments - 14%
    There will be one model-building assignment for each lab class.
  • 2 Midterm Exams - 30%
    These midterm exams are challenging and are meant to assess how thoroughly you have learned the lesson material.
  • Final Exam - 20%
    The final exam will be comprehensive.
  • Extra Credit - 20 points
    I will offer an optional Homework/Problem Set toward the end of the semester that will count up to 20 extra points toward your final grade.

Course Schedule

Course Schedule

Lecture topics

  • Chemical bonding and electronegativity
  • Hardness, melting points, and boiling points

Lab Topics: Halite and Fluorite Structures

  • Homework #1
  • Quiz #1
  • Model Building #1

Lecture topics

  • Crystal Systems and Theoretical Density
  • Planes and Directions in Crystals

Lab Topics: Diamond, Zincblende and Wurtzite Structures

  • Homework #2
  • Quiz #2
  • Model Building #2

Lecture topics

  • Morphology and Crystal Growth
  • Mechanical Properties: Cleavage and Slip

Lab Topics: Metal Structures: FCC, HCP, and BCC

  • Homework #3
  • Quiz #3
  • Model Building #3

Lecture topics

  • Surface Properties: Wetting, Adhesion, and Etching
  • Symmetry Elements and Point Groups

Lab Topics: Molecular Crystals

  • Homework #4
  • Quiz #4
  • Model Building #4

Lecture topics

  • Stereographic Projections
  • Neumann’s Law and Tensor Properties

Lab Topics: Polymer Structures

  • Quiz #5
  • Model Building #5
  • Midterm Exam #1

Lecture topics

  • Bond Lengths and Radii
  • Pauling’s Rules for Ionic Structure

Lab Topics: Rutile, Graphite, and Boron Nitride Structures

  • Homework #5
  • Quiz #6
  • Model Building #6

Lecture topics

  • Pauling’s Rules and Zachariasen’s Rules (introduction)
  • Zachariesen’s Rules and Structure of Glasses

Lab Topics: Brucite and Corundum Structures

  • Homework #6
  • Quiz #7
  • Model Building #7

Lecture topics

  • Phase Diagrams and Crystal Chemistry
  • Types of Solid Solutions

Lab Topics: Classification of Silicate Structures

  • Homework #7
  • Quiz #8
  • Model Building #8

Lecture topics

  • Phase Transformations and Structure
  • Defects in Solids

Lab Topics: Layer Silicates

  • Homework #8
  • Quiz #9
  • Model Building #9

Lecture topics

  • Defect Chemistry
  • Thermal Expansion and Structure

Lab Topics: Silicate Phases and Stuffed Derivatives

  • Quiz #10
  • Model Building #10
  • Midterm Exam #2

Lecture topics

  • Specific Heat, Thermal Conductivity, and Structure
  • Diffusion and Ionic Conductivity

Lab Topics: Feldspars and Beryl Structures

  • Homework #9
  • Quiz #11
  • Model Building #11

Lecture topics

  • Refractive Index and Birefringence
  • Color, Absorption, Fluorescence, and Structure

Lab Topics: Calcite and Perovskite Structures

  • Homework #10
  • Quiz #12
  • Model Building #12

Lecture topics

  • Dielectrics and Ferroelectricity
  • Piezoelectrics and Introduction to Magnetism

Lab Topics: Spinel and Dislocations

  • Homework #11
  • Quiz #13
  • Model Building #13

Lecture topics

  • Magnetism and Structure
  • Mechanical Properties: Elasticity and Structure

Lab Topics: Lead Oxide, Borax, and Silicon Nitride Structures

  • Homework #11 (Extra Credit)
  • Quiz #14
  • Model Building #14
  • Final Exam
Final Exam