MSE 697I Interfaces in Materials

Sem. 1, Class 3, cr.3. Prerequisites: Graduate standing.

A broad course on the structure of interfaces in engineering materials, their role in microstructure development (processing), and how they affect selected material properties. Review of atomic structure and bonding models for solids. Models of crystalline solid surface structure and energy. Liquid surface tension, wetting, and capillarity. Thermodynamics of adsorption. Structure and energy of homophase and heterophase solid/solid interfaces. The course will rely heavily on the archival research literature. The course will be useful for students interested in nanotechnology, thin film processing, and colloidal processing and complimentary to courses on surface science, surface physics, and surface chemistry.

Goals and Objectives:

To develop the concepts of surface energy and tension in terms of atomic level descriptions of liquids and solids and their role in microstructure development in engineering materials. Students will be able to design a research direction based on the archival literature on interfaces in materials.


Three lectures per week and associated discussions. There will be occasional homework assignments, a midterm and final exam. Each student will select a topic closely related to their research or interest in interfaces and write a 10-page paper plus give an in-class seminar based on their research. The paper should be about an application of principles discussed in the course to an aspect of interfaces closely related to their own research.


Murr, Interfacial Phenomena in Metals and Alloys Israelachivili, Intermolecular and Surface Forces, 2nd Ed Adamson, Surface Chemistry


Professors Kevin P. Trumble, Eric P. Kvam