A+ A A-

This unit will cover various aspects of Materials Chemistry. Particular emphasis will be placed on the connection between properties, chemical structure and applications.

Essential idea

Materials science involves understanding the properties of a material, and then applying those properties to desired structures.

Learning Targets


Moral Citizens - Ethics and risk assessment in nanotechnology

SL Material (15 hours)

A.1 Materials Science Introduction

  • Understand how and why materials are classified based on their uses, properties type of bonding and structure
  • Can use the position of a compound in the bonding triangle to deduce properties
  • Understand the meaning of the term composite and the advantages of this type of material

A.2 Metals and Inductively Coupled Plasma (ICP) Spectroscopy

  • Describe and explain how metals are extracted from their ores
  • Understand the relationship between the method of extraction and metal reactivity
  • Be able to calculate masses of metals produced during electrolysis
  • Understand the difference between a metal and an alloy
  • Describe and explain the difference between the behaviour of diamagnetic and paramagnetic materials in magnetic fields
  • Describe, explain and use data from ICP experiments to identify and and quantify metal ions

A3. Catalysts

  • Explanation of factors involved in choosing a catalyst
  • Describe the difference between heterogeneous and homogeneous catalysts with examples
  • Describe the mode of action of different catalysts
  • Explain why transition metals are an important family of catalysts
  • Describe the benefits of nanocatalysts

A.4 Liquid Crystals

  • Describe the meaning of the term liquid crystal
  • Describe the characteristics of lyotropic and thermotropic liquid crystals
  • Explain liquid crystal behaviour at a molecular level
  • Discuss the properties required for a substance to be suitable for use in a liquid crystal display

A.5 Polymers

  • Describe the characteristics of thermoplastics, thermosets and elastomers
  • Be able to relate the properties of polymers to their structure
  • Describe the various techniques used to modify the properties of polymers
  • Understand the term atom economy, calculate % atom economy for a given reaction and discuss in terms of green chemistry

A.6 Nanotechnology

  • Have an appreciation for the nanoscale
  • Describe chemical and physical methods for building nanoscale materials
  • Describe the synthesis, structure, properties and importance of carbon nanotubes

A.7 Environmental impact - Plastics

  • Explain why most polymers do not degrade quickly
  • Explain the environmental impact of burning polymers (referring to dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls)
  • Describe the methods and problems associated with recycling of polymers

HL Material


Unique Individuals - Serendipity and scientific discoveries. Taking note of the unexpected- the development of polymer chemistry, liquid crystals

A.8 Superconducting metals and X-ray crystallography

  • Understand describe and explain the origin of superconductvity referring to Type 1, Type 2 conductors and Bardeen-Cooper-Schrieffer theory
  • Understand how X-ray crystallography can be used to determine the packing arrangement, dimensions and density of crystalline materials.
  • Able to perform calculations using X-ray diffraction data.

A.9 Condensation Polymers

  • Describe how condensation polymers are formed including chemical equations
  • Deduce polymer structure from monomers and vice-versa (polyesters and polyamides)
  • Explain the properties of Kevlar based on chemical structure

A.10 Environmental Impact - Heavy Metals

  • Describe why heavy metals pose a serious problem to the environment
  • Describe and explain how heavy metals can be removed from the environment (precipitation, chelation, and adsorption)
  • Calculations of heavy metal concentration or solubility from solubility products.
  • Compare and contrast and explain the implications of the Fenton and Haber-Weiss reaction mechanism for generating the reactive hydroxy radical

The detailed curriculum can be consulted here.

Main Menu


Find Us

Saint Maur International School Science Center

83 Yamate-cho, Naka-Ku Yokohama
Kanagawa (Greater Tokyo)
JAPAN 231-8654
Tel +81-45-641-5751 | Fax +81-45-641-6688

Connect with Us