PCC-31806 Advanced Soft Matter


Studiepunten 6.00

Course coordinator(s)dr. ir. JHB Sprakel
Lecturer(s)dr. RJ de Vries
dr. ir. JHB Sprakel
dr. JA Dijksman
Examiner(s)dr. ir. JHB Sprakel

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

PCC-20806 Soft Matter and/or FPH-20306 Food Physics.


Soft matter is the study of materials that are neither solid, nor liquid. They are somewhere in between. Examples of such materials can be found everywhere around us: food products, soaps, gels, paints, and almost all biological materials. Characteristic of these materials is that their structure and dynamics at the microscale are dominated by thermal fluctuations. In this course we will show how the balance between these thermal fluctuations and the interactions between molecules can lead to complex structures and mechanical properties at a larger scale. Topics include: thermal motion and diffusion, linear and non-linear mechanics, adhesion and friction, liquid interfaces, wetting, gels and virus assembly. Special attention will be paid to modern developments in soft matter research and to the relevance for practical areas such as food science and nanotechnology.  The course consists of lectures and an experimental research project, on a topic that is closely related to the research in the department. The research project is done in small groups of 2-4 students.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:

- explain how molecular interactions can lead to structure formation and dynamical phenomena at the mesoscopic scale;
- apply concepts of interfacial science, mechanics, adhesion, friction and colloids presented in the course to new situations or problems, and also in practical situations;
- read scientific journal papers on soft matter subjects;
- design and carry out experiments on soft matter phenomena and keep a good lab journal;
- improve their communication skills both orally and in writing.


- participate in lectures; 

- experimental research project; 
- keep a lab journal during experimental research
- oral presentation of poster and self-study


- written exam with open and MC questions (60%);
- report on research project (40%).
Each component needs a minimum mark of 5.5 to pass. Marks for components will remain valid for 3 years.


A study guide will be available.
The study material will be announced well before the start of the course.

Keuze voor: MBTBiotechnologyMScD: Spec. D - Process Technology5AF
MMLMolecular Life SciencesMScA: Spec. A Biomedical Research5AF
MMLMolecular Life SciencesMScC: Spec. C Physical Biology5AF
MMLMolecular Life SciencesMScD: Spec. D Physical Chemistry5AF