Chemistry of Materials

Chemical materials are all around us: in our cars (polymers, alloys), in the buildings we live in (cements, metals) and in the clothes we wear (polymers, pigments). Other more hidden uses of chemical materials include, medicine (bio-materials, magnetic resonance imaging machines) or technology (laser discs, magnetic energy storage). Synthetic and natural chemical materials can be seen in structural, bio-supportive, responsive and cosmetic situations everywhere.

Chemistry of Materials

Materials is one area of research which brings together all the physical sciences: chemists to synthesise and characterise the solids, physicists to investigate their properties and engineers to fabricate them into useful devices. Since the last decade, the chemistry of materials has become an essential part of a chemistry degree, as the relationship between chemical structure and inherent physical properties has been recognised.

Why Study Chemistry with Materials Chemists are not just found at the bench in pharmaceutical companies, they also work in chemical plants, for the utility companies such as gas and electricity and even on oil rigs. Other roles include using chemistry to branch out into other areas such as geochemistry, astrochemistry and marine chemistry.

These careers, and many others like them, do not just require chemical knowledge of the materials they use, but also how these materials are fabricated and even recycled. For this reason, the Chemistry Department at Loughborough University has recently joined with the University's Institute of Polymer Technology and Materials Engineering to create an undergraduate degree programme which trains chemists for the more physical science end of chemistry.

This new undergraduate programme, called Chemistry with Materials to reflect its content, is based on years of teaching and research experience and offers new opportunities. Why Study Chemistry with Materials at Loughborough The Chemistry with Materials Programme at Loughborough University takes advantage of expertise in both the Chemistry and the Polymer Technology and Materials Engineering Departments to teach a course which deals, not only in the synthesis of materials, but also their characterisation and fabrication.

The full history of a material from chemical composition, to the working material and its recycling is examined in a fully integrated course. A major component of this programme is based on polymer chemistry where there are many experts in the field in both the chemistry and materials based departments.  Our students benefit from the excellent facilities available for the teaching of both theoretical and practical aspects of chemistry.

Since chemistry is a practical science, you will spend a significant amount of your time (about 50%) in the laboratory developing the skills required by a chemistry graduate - you will be reassured to know that our laboratories are equipped to the highest standards.  The academic staff responsible for teaching on the Chemistry with Materials programme are nationally and internationally recognised as experts in their chosen fields.

The research they undertake is 'cutting edge' science and much of the research work is supported by Chemical Industry. This provides for a dynamic and stimulating environment for teaching and learning to take place effectively.  The Chemistry Department prides itself on the approachability of our staff and the pastoral care provided by the personal tutoring system operated within the Department.

On arrival you will be assigned a personal tutor with whom you are encouraged to talk about your progress on the programme and who is always on hand to help with any difficulties or problems that may arise. Typical Student Profile * Anyone with a good background in the physical sciences

* Anyone with a interest in how materials e.g. polymers, semiconductors and     superconductors, electronic materials, alloys, cements and building materials move from the laboratory bench into our everyday lives

* Anyone with an interest in how and why a material is chosen for a particular application


Major Topics Studied * Inorganic, Organic and Physical Chemistry * Analytical Chemistry including Characterisation Techniques such as Microscopy, X-ray Diffraction, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance. * Synthesis, Characterization, Use and Recycling of Polymers * Materials Design and Use

Authors: Sandra E Dann* and Ged Salt+,  *Department of Chemistry, + Faculty of Science, Loughborough University, Leicestershire, UK 

Employment Prospects Employment prospects for graduates with chemistry degrees at Loughborough University are good and the career opportunities are worldwide. Major companies have recently placed Loughborough University 3rd on the list of most employable science and engineering graduates. For Further Information Dr. Roger Mortimer, Admissions Tutor, Tel: +44 (0) 1509 222583 Dr.S.E. Dann, Programme Director, Tel: +44 (0) 1509 222568  Fax: +44 (0)1509 223925 Email: or Department of Chemistry,  Loughborough University, Loughborough,  Leicestershire LE11 3TU, U.K.  

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