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Science of materials and energy

  1. Dec 7, 2014 #1
    Does anybody know of a good book, or, preferably, a good website, on the chemistry and physics of energy sources (solar panels, chemical reaction and role of syngas, electrolysis of hydrogen and the like)?

    Also, a link to a website which covers physical properties of materials would also be appreciated (like mechanical properties, pyromagnetism, piezomagnetism etc). Of course, I am talking about one that also explains the science of those properties.

    I should add that I am completely new to material and energy science. I know high school level chemistry, and undergraduate mathematics and physics.
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  3. Dec 7, 2014 #2

    Doug Huffman

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    Absorb Halliday and Resnick's Fundamentals of Physics. I don't know of an explanation for pyromagnetism. I worked around a high volume electrolysis oxygen/hydrogen generator. It was called The Bomb and it's alarms were never ignored.
  4. Dec 7, 2014 #3
    Well, according to Merriam-Webster, pyromagnetism is synonymous with thermomagnetism. However, I am not looking for an introduction into physics. With the exception of solid-state physics, nothing in Fundamentals of Physics look relevant to what I am trying to learn, and it's too expensive for me to pick up just for one chapter.
  5. Dec 7, 2014 #4


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    Just what are you trying to learn? You're "to do list" in the OP covers enough for two or three majors.
  6. Dec 7, 2014 #5
    Well, I am not sure myself. The course I am taking is broad, but does not go in depth into anything. So, I guess that is what I am trying to learn. What I wrote in my original post is just three out of eleven chapters from my textbook.

    What I am looking for is that, while doing exercises, if I am, for instance, asked to plot the power density and cell voltage of a fuel cell as a function of current density, I can look up how to do that in a comprehensible textbook. Heck, in the book I am sometimes asked to answer questions about things I cannot even find in the index.

    So, examples of the kind of questions I need to answer is:
    Knowing the bandgaps of two materials, which one will absorb the most white light? Actually, color is a big deal in the curriculum of this course.
    What are the properties and structure of polymers/LED's/composites/etc?
    Having the phase diagram of alloys, which phase is hardest? Softest? And, how do we explain the difference?

    Usually, when I Google something, I find the answer I am looking for. So, when I was struggling with Lebesgue integrals, I Googled them and cleared up my confusion within minutes. However, if I Google anything about material and energy science, I find business presentations, and professionals giving each other advice.
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2014
  7. Dec 7, 2014 #6


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    You've got forms set for the footings that go under the foundations --- don't get too far gone trying to put a roof on the "structure" as yet.

    This is par for interdisciplinary survey/introductory courses --- authors try to encourage you to acquaint yourself with the chem., phys., and engineering libraries and literature, not so much to master the literature as to just be able to find it.

    Step 1? For materials science you'll want QM and stat. mech. from either a chem. or phys. curriculum; for "energy science" you really need to sit down and learn 200 years worth of thermo., again, from chem., phys., or mech. eng. curricula. If you're adamant about the direction you're currently headed, my advice is to go with the thermo. first --- it'll give you some "perspective" on the "business presentations and professional advice."
  8. Dec 7, 2014 #7
    I am not asking for long term advice. All I am asking for is to get through one exam in january (for now).
  9. Dec 7, 2014 #8


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    In two months?
    ... which means that this ...

    ... is a highly unlikely event.

    Don't borrow trouble by preparing for challenges beyond the scope of the course.
  10. Dec 7, 2014 #9
    Well, I thought I was typing questions directly from the textbook, but you're actually right... They were referring to a plot in the text, and the question is to find the resistance of the cathode and entire cell. Actually, there are a few other questions there as well, but this thread is not about helping me with specific questions.

    Technically exam is tomorrow, but I can withdraw and retake a different one in the first week of next semester, in january, instead. I feel ready for most of the curriculum. The parts about chemistry were alright. The physics problems are high school level exercises. The problem, for me, starts when I am supposed to apply that to material and energy science. So, I am leaning towards withdrawing because I have been looking through exams given previous years, and they focus to great degree on those three chapters. One of the three chapters is not that bad (on mechanical properties of materials; Hooke's law, Poisson's ratio and the like). The next chapter is on physical properties of materials. This is a very broad chapter. Dia-, para-, ferro-, antiferro- and ferrimagnetism, and that is just the part on magnetism. Then you have thermal, mechanical, optical, dielectric and elecric properties of materials and how they interact (like piezoelectric effect which, as you probably know, is electricity induced in a material through mechanical stress). The final chapter that bothers me is one on energy, energy sources, conversion and storage of energy. Here I have to describe the chemical reactions of fuels, like natural gas, and batteries. Also, what silicon molecule makes the best solar panel? (thus the question above about which material absorbs most white light.. I did figure this one out.)
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