MSc
2022 start September 

Nanomaterials and Materials Science

Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Faculty of Engineering

Become an expert in materials science with nanotechnology specialisation.
Image of two postgraduate materials science and engineering students with masks and equipment

Course description

Nanotechnology has had a revolutionary influence on the development of novel materials over the last 20 years, and many new types of materials are now available, such as nano-carbon, nano-silica, and nano-magnetics. These materials open new ways of designing advanced devices (sensors, electronics, data and energy storage) as well as improved structural and functional materials. 

The course is designed to equip students with the know-how and skills for becoming an expert in materials science with a specialisation in nanotechnology. 

We provide a foundation semester in the general area of science and engineering of materials, followed by a nanoscience and nanotechnology-specific semester to give you comprehensive nanomaterials expertise. The course content reflects the highly interdisciplinary nature of this subject and allows students to specialise via options, and a major project.

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Modules

The modules listed below are examples from the last academic year. There may be some changes before you start your course. For the very latest module information, check with the department directly.

Core modules:

Science of Materials

This module introduces key concepts involved in materials science to cover general aspects and applications of metallic, polymeric and inorganic materials. Topics covered include: chemical bonding; basic crystallography of crystalline materials; crystal defects; mechanical properties and strength of materials; phase diagrams and transformations; overviews of metals and alloys; polymers and inorganic solids. Lectures will be supplemented with laboratory exercises based on: construction of a binary phase diagram; crystallography; health and safety regulations in the workplace.

15 credits
Materials Processing and Characterisation

This module introduces the processes and technologies involved in the production of metals, polymers, ceramics and composites and the experimental methods used to characterise these materials.
Processing topics include powder processing, thermomechanical processing and polymer and composites processing. Characterisation topics include X-ray, neutron and electron diffraction, light and electron optics, analytical scanning and transmission electron microscopy, thermal analysis, spectroscopic methods (e.g. Infra-red, Raman, NMR, XANES) and advanced chemical analysis. Lectures will be supplemented with exercises and an assessment on the processing part of the module.

15 credits
Practical, Modelling and Digital Skills

This module develops your skills in three linked areas:

(a) materials characterisation laboratory skills including safe methods of working, completion of COSHH and risk assessments, and measurements using a range of practical techniques
(b) the use of computers for data handling and analysis together with an introduction to modelling (using packages such as Excel and MATLAB) and analysis together with an introduction to finite element modelling (using packages such as ANSYS)
(c) the skills needed to search for scientific literature as well as technical skills for presenting data, including how to avoid plagiarism, referencing, formatting documents, drawing high quality graphs, critically reviewing literature and giving presentations.

15 credits
Nanoscale Magnetic Materials and Devices

The module starts with an introduction to magnetism and proceeds to the magnetic parameters which are influenced when length scales approach the nanometer range. Bulk, thin film and heterogeneous materials are considered. There is a discussion of probes for studying nanomagnetic materials. The role of nanostructure on exchange interactions and remanence enhancement, surfaces and interfaces on anisotropy and magnetoelasticity and nanofabrication on magnetotransport are introduced. Micromagnetic modelling is introduced. A range of applications including magnetic memory, nanostructured magnets, spin-electronics and microelectromechanical devices are outlined. 

15 credits
Nanostructures and Nano-structuring

This module introduces nanostructures (free-standing nanoobjects or assemblies of these, or nanopores in porous materials), and methods of nanopatterning and nanocharacterisation (nanometrology). There is particular emphasis on carbon and non-carbon-based nanotubes, composite nanotubes, nanowires and belts, and nanosticks and tips. Also considered are 3-D framework nanostructures, including nanoporous materials, opal and inverse opal structures, and composite nanomaterials generated from these porous materials. The nanopatterning methods introduced concentrate on focused ion beam, focused electron beam technology and mechanical imprint methods.

15 credits
Functional Nano- and Bio-nanomaterials

This module gives you a basic understanding and applications of selected types of nanomaterial. The core topics of the module comprise:
(a) nanocomposite materials
(b) 2D nanomaterials, including graphene and graphene-composites
(c) nanocrystalline ceramics
(d) bio-nanomaterials
(e) thin films and deposition techniques
(f) principles of nano-mechanics. 

15 credits
Heat and Materials with Application

This module examines both the transfer of heat to/from materials and thermally activated processes that occur during the manufacture of materials due to the transfer of heat into materials. There is also some consideration of the effects of heat during use. Thus conduction, convection and radiative heat transfer, on their own and in combination are considered, followed by an examination of diffusion (Fick's laws) and sintering (solid state, liquid phase and viscous glass sintering). Finally creep phenomena are considered. The case study part of the module has a twofold aim. Firstly, it is designed to simulate the kind of team work that could be required of you in industry. They aim to increase your knowledge of processing and applications of engineering materials, and your ability to work in a group to cooperate and collaborate efficiently and effectively. Secondly, they are designed to highlight some of the critical issues for processing of materials from both a materials and engineering systems point of view.

15 credits
Project

The research project and dissertation is supervised by one or, in some instances, two members of academic staff. Project supervisors are allocated based both on student choice and academic workload.The topic of the research project will be set in consultation with your project supervisor. Laboratory or modelling work on the project will formally be undertaken during the Second Semester (including the Spring vacation period) and during the summer vacation between about mid-June and mid-August.

60 credits

Optional modules:

Design and Manufacture of Composites

This module is designed to provide you with an understanding of both the design and manufacture of polymer composites and is presented in two sections. First, design of composites is taught via tutorials and practicals on classical laminate theory and ESAComp software. An extended series of worked examples provides you with the basic tools you need to design effective composite parts. Second, manufacture of composites is taught via lectures. You will learn multiple routes for making composite parts alongside practical issues such as defects, machining/joints, failure, testing and non destructive testing, repair and SMART composites. 

15 credits
Structural and Physical Properties of Dental and Bio-materials.

This module covers engineering metallic alloys ranging from alloy steels, stainless steels, light alloys (i.e. aluminium alloys and titanium alloys) and high temperature metallic systems (intermetallics and nickel superalloys). The module centres on the physical metallurgy of such engineering alloys to demonstrate the effect of alloying and implications for the processing, microstructure and performance of structural components in a range of industrial sectors, but predominantly the automotive and aerospace sectors.

15 credits
Solid State Chemistry

Inorganic solids have a very wide range of applications as functional materials because of their ability to exhibit a complete spectrum of electrical, magnetic, optical and multifunctional properties. This module covers the use and interpretation of phase diagrams in describing these inorganic materials and then considers how inorganic solids can have variable composition by isovalent/aliovalent ion substitutions. Applications including solid electrolytes, mixed conductors, and ferroelectrics are considered throughout the module.

15 credits
Materials for Energy Applications

This module aims to develop your understanding of materials (ferrous & non-ferrous alloys, ceramics, composites) used for energy generation.

15 credits

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption. We are no longer offering unrestricted module choice. If your course included unrestricted modules, your department will provide a list of modules from their own and other subject areas that you can choose from.

Teaching

Working alongside students and staff from across the globe, you’ll tackle real-world projects, and attend lectures, seminars and laboratory classes.

Assessment

You’ll be assessed by formal examinations, coursework assignments and a dissertation.

Duration

1 year full-time

Entry requirements

A good honours degree in materials, a physical science (chemistry or physics) or a related engineering subject.

Overall IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component, or equivalent.

Pathway programme for international students

If you're an international student who does not meet the entry requirements for this course, you have the opportunity to apply for a pre-masters programme in Science and Engineering at the University of Sheffield International College. This course is designed to develop your English language and academic skills. Upon successful completion, you can progress to degree level study at the University of Sheffield.

We also accept a range of other UK qualifications and other EU/international qualifications.

If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.

Fees and funding

Scholarships of up to £3000 are available on the basis of academic excellence and Access and Participation criteria. UK students only.

Apply

You can apply for postgraduate study using our Postgraduate Online Application Form. It's a quick and easy process.

Apply now

Contact

mse.pgtadmissions@sheffield.ac.uk
+44 114 222 5941

Any supervisors and research areas listed are indicative and may change before the start of the course.

Our student protection plan

Recognition of professional qualifications: from 1 January 2021, in order to have any UK professional qualifications recognised for work in an EU country across a number of regulated and other professions you need to apply to the host country for recognition. Read information from the UK government and the EU Regulated Professions Database.

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