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These course descriptions are not being updated as of August 1, 2016. Current course descriptions are maintained in LionPATH.

Materials Science and Engineering (MATSE)

MATSE 540 Crystal Anisotropy (3) Symmetry aspects of crystals and physical properties. Matrix and tensor methods.

MATSE 540 Crystal Anisotropy (3)

In this course symmetry and tensors are used to describe the physical properties of materials as a function of direction, i.e., how a material will respond to different types of stimuli as a function of direction. A variety of thermal, mechanical, electric, magnetic, and optical properties are covered, including pyroelectricity, pyromagnetism, thermal expansion, dielectric constant, magnetic susceptibility, piezoelectricity, piezomagnetism, elastic stiffness and compliance, electrostriction, magnetostriction, index of refraction, and non-linear optical effects. At first the response of single crystals are considered, but this is later extended to polycrystalline samples with various types of texture.

As the course makes extensive use of symmetry, several weeks are dedicated to the development of the 32 crystallographic point groups using group theory. Symmetry operations are described using coordinate transformation matrices and stereographic projections. Both tensor quantities and tensor properties are described as a function of increasing tensor rank (up to fourth rank) for a multitude of polar tensors followed by axial tensors. For magnetic materials, the 90 magnetic point groups are introduced. For polycrystalline materials, the 7 Curie groups are utilized. A variety of practical examples illustrating the use of tensors to describe the properties of materials are covered in class and in in-depth homework sets involving both matrix and tensor form. The computer program Mathematica is used extensively in class and in the homework sets to visualize the physical properties of materials in three dimensions as well as to rapidly apply symmetry and tensor methods to high-rank tensor properties of low symmetry materials.

General Education: None
Diversity: None
Bachelor of Arts: None
Effective: Spring 2003
Prerequisite: PHYS 412

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.


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