cod. 07492

Academic year 2022/23
2° year of course - Second semester
Francesco MEZZADRI
Academic discipline
Chimica generale e inorganica (CHIM/03)
Chimica della materia
Type of training activity
48 hours
of face-to-face activities
6 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Learning objectives

The aim of the course is to provide the student with in-depth knowledge of the solid state and its symmetry properties, the general principles of diffraction as a direct consequence of the periodicity of atoms in the crystals, polymorphism, phase transitions and solids reactivity.
Specifically, the student will:
- Know the synthesis techniques of inorganic compounds and materials preparation, the reactivity of solids and the sintering process of ceramics. Know the main types of crystalline packing and the factors influencing them, the structural characterization techniques as well as understand the influence of crystalline symmetry on the properties of materials. Understand the principles of X-ray diffraction and its application. Know the solid solutions and their importance in the materials science field.
- Identify, within the framework of the topics covered by the course, the appropriate approach to seek a specific goal through the use of appropriate synthesis or analysis techniques, demonstrating the ability to effectively apply the acquired knowledge.
- Be able to use the specific language and terminology of the discipline in order to communicate coherently what he/she learned.



Course unit content

The course deals with the fundamental topics of solid state chemistry, paying particular attention to the structure, properties and reactivity of matter in crystalline form. Wide space is devoted to the origin of the three-dimensional periodicity in crystalline structures, to the definition of symmetry and to its description through space groups. The classification of crystal structures is discussed and the factors at their origin are described, as well as the characteristics of the most common crystallographic defects. Theoretical and practical aspects of solid state phase transitions as well as the nucleation and growth processes and the techniques commonly used for crystal growth are presented. Reactivity of solids and ceramics sintering and processing are introduced. Students are introduced to the theoretical and practical aspects of X-ray diffraction and its applications.

Full programme

The crystal state. Origin of 3D-periodicity. Bravais lattice and crystal lattice. Symmetry classification. Point symmetry. Point groups of Bravais lattices: the 7 crystallographic systems. Point group of crystal lattices: the 32 crystallographic classes. Symmetry operation involving translation. Space groups of crystal lattices.
Classification of crystal structures. Close packing and eutactic models. Principal types of binary and ternary structures.
Polymorphism and phase transitions. Kinetic and thermodynamic classifications. Continuos phase transitions. Crystallographic trends in phase transitions.
Solid solutions: interstitial and substitutional. Heterovalent substitutions and charge compensation mechanisms.
Crystallization process. Nucleation: thermodynamic treatment; supersaturation as the driving force of the process; heterogeneous nucleation. Growth: process under thermodynamic and kinetic conditions; spiral mechanism, two-dimensional nucleation and adhesive mechanism.
1, 2 and 3D crystal growth techniques: solid, molten, solution and vapor phase techniques. Reactivity of solids. Solid state reactions: principles and mechanisms; experimental aspects. Sintering. Ceramic materials and their applications: role of the microstructure and relationship with the functional and mechanical properties. Processing of ceramics.
X-rays. Scattering process: Thompson and Compton. Atomic scattering factor. Scattering from ordered systems: the diffraction process. Bragg's law and Laue's equations. Reciprocal lattice. Ewald sphere. Structure factor and equation of the electron density. Relationships between diffraction and lattice symmetry. The phase problem in crystallography and its possible solution.
Practical aspects of X-ray diffraction. Single crystal and powder diffraction. Crystallographic data bases.


The notes of the lectures and all the supporting material are available to the students and shared on Elly portal. In addition to the shared material, the student can personally go further on some of the topics discussed during the course using the following books:
- A.R. West Solid state chemistry and its application, John Wiley and Sons Ltd., Chichester
- C. Giacovazzo et al. Fundamentlas of Crystallography, Oxford Science Publications
- E. Moore and L. Smart Solid State Chemistry: An Introduction, CRC Press
-C.B. Carter, M.G. Norton Ceramic Materials, Springer

Teaching methods

The course counts 6 CFUs (one CFU, University Credits equals one ECTS credit and represents the workload of a student during educational activities aimed at passing the exams), which corresponds to 48 hours of lectures. The taught classes will be based mainly on lectures during which besides the projection of slides both educational and scientific freeware software will be employed. All the material will be uploaded on the Elly platform.

Assessment methods and criteria

Verification of learning and acquired knowledge takes place by an oral exam, in which the student should demonstrate understanding and application ability of the fundamental concepts of the arguments treated in the lectures.

Other information