Soft matter

Lecturer(s): Denis MAZUYER
Course ⋅ 16 hPW ⋅ 4 hStudy ⋅ 8 h


Many complex molecular systems (synthetic or natural) are used, in low concentration, to control functions such as detergency, coating capability, anti-icing, therapeutic targeting, ... by giving a very strong response to a very weak control signal (electrical, mechanical, thermal). These technologies are based upon of a strong state of division of matter giving large interfaces between immiscible liquids or between solid and liquids. The aim of the course is to present the fundamental processes governing the dynamics state of matter called "colloidal" state and to understand the physicochemical and rheological properties of common objects (lubricants, drugs, food, cosmetics, paints, cells. ) in variable applications ranging from biotechnology to civil engineering.


Wetting, adhesion, rheology, colloids, biotechnology, physco-chemistry of interfaces, solution of polymers, self-assembly


I. The colloidal state: Definition, classification, main properties and characterization methods, Self-assembled molecular systems II. Colloidal physico-chemistry: Dispersions, emulsions and biomedical aspects, Colloids for diagnosis and in biotechnology, wetting and intermolecular forces III. Solutions of polymers: Chain conformations and role of the solvent, Polymer at interfaces for colloidal stability IV. Flow properties of soft matter: Introduction to rheology - models and experimental methods, Rheology of diluted and concentrated suspensions and role of colloidal interactions

Learning Outcomes

  • To estimate the influence of the structure of soft materials on their properties and to modify surfaces to impart a desired functionality to them
  • To obtain a theoretical understanding of the physics of soft condensed matter
  • To design microscopic materials made from colloidal buildling blocks, stable emulsions and dispersions
  • To obtain an insight of some experimental techniques that are relevant for investigating soft material physics.


Final mark = 2/3 Knowledge + 1/3 Know-how

Knowledge = 50% final exam + 50% continuous assessment

Know-how = 50% final exam + 50% continuous assessment