Course Syllabus for English-Taught Majors

 Introduction to soft matterCourse Syllabus

Course code09044003

Course CategoryMajor Selective

Majorschemical engineering and technology;chemistry


Total Hours36 Hours         Credit2


Textbooks Hamley I W, Introduction to Soft Matter: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2007: 313-315.


Teaching Aim





Chapter 1: Introduction

1Brief Summary

The history of soft matter. Intermolecular interactions; structural organization; dynamics; phase transitions; order parameters; scaling laws; polydispersity; experimental techniques for investigating soft matter; term plans.

(2)Main Contents

A brief introduction to soft matter. How soft matter developed? The importance of soft matter to our society. Focus on the concepts about soft matter and experimental techniques for investigating soft matter.

Chapter 2: Polymers

1Brief Summary


Synthesis; polymer chain conformation; characterization; polymer solutions; amorphous polymers; crystalline polymers; plastics; rubber; fibers; dendrimeters and hyperbranched polymers; Questions

(2) Main Contents

Consider the properties of synthetic polymers; main techniques of polymer synthesis; the summery of the main methods for characterization of polymeric materials; the distinct features of main classes of polymer; the important properties of plastics, rubber; polymer fibres are related to microscopic structures and to rheology; polymer blends and block copolymer form varied structures due to phase separation and this is prepared and contrasted for the two types of system; dendrimers and hyperbranched polymers; polyelectroletes and (opto)electronic polymers.

Chapter 3: Colloids

1Brief Summary

Types of colloids; forces between colloidal particles; characterization of colloids; charge stabilization; steric stabilization; effect of polymers on colloid stability; kinetic properties; sols; gels; clays; foams; emulsions; food colloids; concentrated colloidal dispersions.

(2) Main Contents

Types of colloids; the primary means of preventing colloidal aggregation, i.e. of imparting colloidal stability, charge stabilization, steric stabilization and addition of polymers; the characterization of colloids. food colloids

Chapter 4: Amphiphiles

1Brief Summary

Types of amphiphile; surface activity; surfactant monolayers and Langmuir-Blodgett films; absorption at solid interfaces; micellization and the critical micelle concentration; detergency; solubilizationin in micelles; interfacial curvature and its relationship to molecular structure; liquid crystal phase at high concentrations; membranes; template structures; Questions.

(2) Main Contents

Examples of different types of amphiphiles; surface activity of surfactants is considered in some detail; the structural properties of absorbed surfactant films; discussion of the adsorption of surfactants on to a solid; micellization and the definition of the critical micelle concentration; the technologically important subjects of detergency and solubilization in micelles; the tendency for amphiphiles to aggregate into structures with distinct packings and interfacial curvatures at high concentrations; a discussion of lyotropic liquid crystal phase formation; membrane phase; a direct application of lyotropic liquid crystal phases:templateing of inorganicminerals.

Chapter 5: Liquid crystal

1Brief Summary

Types of liquid crystals; characteristics of liquid crystal phases; identification of liquid crystal phases; orientational order; elastic properties; phase transition in liquid crystals; applications of liquid crystals; Questions.

(2) Main Contents

Various types of liquid crystals;some important characteristics of liquid crystalline materials that result from the anisometry of liquid crystal molecules; the identification of  liquid crystal phases;the identification of liquid crystal phases;the elastic properties of liquid crystals and phase transitions; applications of thermotropic liquid crystals, particularly in display.

Chapter 6: Biological soft matter

1Brief Summary

Liquid membranes; DNA; proteins; polysaccharides and glycoproteins; Macromolecular assemblies ;Questions.

(2) Main Contents

Soft materials based on the main types of biological molecules and macromolecules-liquid, proteins; nucleic acid and polysaccharides; the fascinating topics of biological motors, nucleic acid replication machinery and other system, known collectively as bionanomachines.

Lecture assignment table:



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Liquid crystal



Biological soft matter








Made by Bo Song

                                                      Date: 9, Nov., 2016