Department of Chemistry, Physics, & Geology


Semester: S 2022                     Course: PHYS 321 (001) - Materials Science
Credit hours:
3                        Pre-requisite: A grade of C or better in PHYS 202 or 212 and CHEM 106.

Online Asynchronous                       Assignments

Professor: Dr. Ponn Maheswaranathan (Mahes).   
Office hours: In-Person 11-12:30, TR (213-B Sims), BB Office Hours: Sunday, Tuesday, & Thursday 8-9 PM or By appointment. 
Cell Phone: 803 504 9399 , E-mail:

Textbook: Materials Science and Engineering, Callister, 8 or 9 or 10 th Edition, John Wiley Publishing.

Course Objectives:

Course Description:
PHYS 321 is an introductory materials science course primarily intended for chemistry majors, pre-engineering students, and for minors in engineering physics. The course will cover synthesis, structure, properties, and technical performance of engineering metals, ceramics, polymers, semiconductors, and superconductors.

University-Level Competency:

Materials science introduces students to the role of scientific reasoning via understanding materials and solving materials science problems (e.g. describing the crystal structures and calculating materials properties). They will apply the scientific methodologies of inquiry during the characterization of materials. They will also be introduced to the history of materials discovery (e.g., topics and modern materials are introduced with historical perspectives) and learn that the materials for current technology are discovered after cutting edge materials research. In addition they will see how the scientific advances made in a laboratory transforms into useful materials for today's technological devices.   

Attendance and Participation:
The attendance policy described in the Winthrop University undergraduate catalog will be followed. Students are encouraged to follow the Blackboard schedule carefully and turn in the homework there on time and to actively take part in classroom activities. Regular attendance and good participation efforts will help in the final letter grade assignment for borderline cases.

COVID-19 Statement: During this pandemic period each student is expected to act in the best interest of the WU community by behaving responsibly to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus. All students, faculty, and staff must wear masks inside buildings and classrooms, unless alone in a private office. All members of the campus community must follow campus guidance on masking. Please do not attend class if you have fever or any signs of the COVID virus; do not attend class if your roommate or someone you have close contact with acquires the virus and be respectful of others to remain COVID-free. Students who violate WU guidelines will be asked to comply. Continued failure to comply may result in referral to the Dean of Students Office as a student conduct violation.

COVID-Related Absence: Students should contact Health Services regarding a positive test, close contact, or enhanced COVID-like symptoms. Any student who has either tested positive, has COVID-like symptoms, or has close contact with someone who has COVID, must contact Health Services. Students should log in to the Patient Portal to schedule a TELEPHONE TRIAGE Appointment w/ COVID as the reason and upload the positive test result if applicable. Health Services will communicate with the student on what steps to take next, and if need be, the Dean of Students Office will get absence verification for required isolation and quarantine. Students who verify their absences through the Dean of Students Office often minimize any academic impact caused by missed class time. Health Services will only provide dates of absence, not medical information. Please note, residential students who test positive or are a close contact are expected to follow their personal COVID Quarantine and Isolation Plan. 

Chapter sections, questions, and problems are assigned for each lecture. Keep up with all the assignments and turn in your homework regularly. Get help when needed.     

Students with Disabilities/Need of Accommodations for Access:
Winthrop University is committed to providing accessible learning experiences and equal access to education for all students. The syllabus is available in alternate formats upon request. If you are a student with a disability (including mental health concerns, chronic or temporary medical conditions, learning disabilities, etc.) and you anticipate or experience academic barriers due to the condition, please contact The Office of Accessibility (OA) for information on accommodations, registration, and procedures. After receiving approval for accommodations through OA, please make arrangements with me as soon as possible to discuss your accommodations so that they may be implemented in a timely manner. OA contact information:; 803-323-3290; 307 Bancroft Hall Annex.

Winthrop’s Academic Success Center:
Winthrop’s Academic Success Center (ASC) is a free resource for all undergraduate students seeking to perform their best academically.  The ASC offers a variety of personalized and structured resources that help students achieve academic excellence, such as tutoring, academic skill development (test taking strategies, time management counseling, and study techniques), group and individual study spaces, and academic coaching.  The ASC is located on the first floor of Dinkins, Suite 106.  Please contact the ASC at 803-323-3929 or  For more information on ASC services, please visit

Winthrop’s Office of Nationally Competitive Awards (ONCA) identifies and assists highly motivated and talented students to apply for nationally and internationally competitive awards, scholarships, fellowships, and unique opportunities both at home and abroad.   ONCA gathers and disseminates award information and deadlines across the campus community, and serves as a resource for students, faculty, and staff throughout the nationally competitive award nomination and application process. ONCA is located in Dinkins 222. Please fill out an online information form at the bottom of the ONCA webpage and email for more information.

Student Conduct Code: The policy on student academic misconduct is outlined in the “Student Conduct Code Academic Misconduct Policy” in the online Student Handbook (

Syllabus change policy: The instructor will make changes to this syllabus as deemed necessary for the progression of the course.

Tests & Final: Two tests (each worth 20% for a total of 40%) and a comprehensive final (40%) are scheduled as follows. Homework is worth 20%.


Tests and Final


Content Description


Test #1

1,2, & 3

Introduction, Atomic Structure & Bonding, Structure of Crystalline Solids, and Linear & Planar densities.


Test #2

3,4,6, 10-13, 18

X-ray diffraction.  Imperfections in Solids, Mechanical Properties, Ceramics, and Electrical Properties.


19,20, & 21

Thermal, Optical,and Magnetic Properties.

Course Evaluation   Course Code: 22810



Final Exam



The above total will be used to assign a letter grade, which will be very close to the following:
100% - 90% = A     89% - 87% = A-    86% - 84% = B+    83% - 80% = B    79% - 77% = B-   
    76%-74% = C+   73% - 67% = C     66% - 64% = C-     63%-60% = D      59%- 0%  = F