Search course

Use the search function to find more information about the study programmes and courses available at Chalmers. When there is a course homepage, a house symbol is shown that leads to this page.

Graduate courses

Departments' graduate courses for PhD-students.


Syllabus for

Academic year
TIF325 - Fundamentals of hard and soft materials  
Hårda och mjuka material
Syllabus adopted 2019-02-14 by Head of Programme (or corresponding)
Owner: MPPHS
7,5 Credits
Grading: TH - Five, Four, Three, Fail
Education cycle: Second-cycle
Major subject: Engineering Physics
Department: 16 - PHYSICS

Teaching language: English
Application code: 85125
Open for exchange students: Yes
Block schedule: A

Module   Credit distribution   Examination dates
Sp1 Sp2 Sp3 Sp4 Summer course No Sp
0119 Examination 7,5 c Grading: TH   7,5 c   16 Mar 2020 pm M   10 Jun 2020 pm J,  20 Aug 2020 am J

In programs

MPPHS PHYSICS, MSC PROGR, Year 1 (compulsory elective)


Marianne Liebi

  Go to Course Homepage


In order to be eligible for a second cycle course the applicant needs to fulfil the general and specific entry requirements of the programme that owns the course. (If the second cycle course is owned by a first cycle programme, second cycle entry requirements apply.)
Exemption from the eligibility requirement: Applicants enrolled in a programme at Chalmers where the course is included in the study programme are exempted from fulfilling these requirements.

Course specific prerequisites

The students are expected to have knowledge on the basic level of solid-state physics or solid-state chemistry and thermodynamics.


The broad field of materials science is looked at from a physics perspective. Properties of the materials are governed by atomic arrangements up to the macroscopic structures. The course is expanding from ideal crystals and simple liquids to real materials, such as metallic alloys, ceramics, polymers, colloidal systems and biological materials.
The aim of this course is to provide a foundation for understanding and utilization of properties and behavior of soft and hard materials. The course provides core competence for students aiming at either a career in academia or in R&D-industry. It is also the foundation for the entire material physics track.

Learning outcomes (after completion of the course the student should be able to)

- Use thermodynamics to explain phase stability and phase diagrams.
- Use binary phase diagrams to determine the equilibrium phases and their compositions.
- Analyze the behavior and phenomena in materials based on energy and entropy arguments
- Explain the mechanisms of diffusion and use diffusion equations for calculations.
- Understand and explain crystal defects (point defects, dislocations, grain boundaries) and segregation
- Explain mechanical properties of hard and soft materials and interpret results from mechanical tests and rheology experiments
- Understand scattering techniques and their applicability
- Identify the relevant time-, length- and energy-scales in different material systems
- Apply the fundamental concepts to real materials
- Read and understand advanced literature, e.g. review articles


- Concepts, classifications and applications of soft and hard materials
- Thermodynamics of hard and soft materials
- Multi-component and supramolecular systems: Metallic alloys, ceramics, polymers, colloidal systems, biological materials
- Phase diagrams and phase transitions/transformations
- Dynamics and kinetics
- Defects and microstructure
- Intermolecular forces and molecular order in soft matter (e.g. semi-crystallinity, liquid-crystals, self-assembly, glasses)
- Mechanical properties (elastic and plastic) & rheology (viscous, viscoelastic)
- Scattering and diffraction techniques (light, X-rays, neutrons)


The course is based on a series of lectures. There will be two lab-exercises covering experimental tools and a project work applying fundamental concepts to a specific material system.


Material in the form of selected book chapters, scientific articles, ppt-presentations and seminar slides will be available on the homepage in connection to each lecture.

Examination including compulsory elements

There is a written examination at the end of the course. The course has two mandatory lab-exercises and a project work.

Page manager Published: Thu 04 Feb 2021.