Structure of Materials

A bundle of blue optical fibers illuminated against a pitch black background.

A bundle of glass (silica) optical fibers. (Courtesy Michael Wyszomierski on Flickr. License: CC BY-NC.)


MIT Course Number


As Taught In

Spring 2019



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Course Description

Course Features

Course Description

Structure—or the arrangement of materials’ internal components—determines virtually everything about a material: its properties, its potential applications, and its performance within those applications. This three-part course explores the structure of a wide variety of materials with current-day engineering applications. Taken together, the three modules provide similar content to MIT’s sophomore-level materials structure curriculum.

Part 1 of the course introduces amorphous materials and explores glasses and polymers, the factors that influence their structure, and how materials scientists measure and describe the structure of these materials. Then we discuss what it means for a material to be crystalline, how we describe periodic arrangement of atoms in a crystal, and how we can determine the structure of crystals through x-ray diffraction. Parts 2 and 3 explore the structure of materials in further depth.

This course was organized as a three-part series on MITx by MIT’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering and is now archived on the Open Learning Library, which is free to use. You have the option to sign up and enroll in each module if you want to track your progress, or you can view and use all the materials without enrolling.

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Related Content

Silvija Gradecak. 3.012Sx Structure of Materials. Spring 2019. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

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