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Current Project

Inorganic Chemistry Division (II)
Polymer Division (IV)

Number: 2005-001-1-200

Title: Towards defining materials chemistry

Task Group
Peter Day

Members: L.V. Interrante, M. Prato, Y. Shirota, and A. R. West

To assemble, collate and disseminate information about the scope of the newly-emerging discipline of materials chemistry, leading to an authoritative definition of the subject within the family of chemical sciences.

The last 10-15 years have seen the emergence and rapid growth of 'materials chemistry' as a distinct discipline within the broad family of chemical sciences. This was a combination of noun and adjective that had not previously formed part of the chemists' vocabulary. Now a significant fraction of all publications in chemistry claim to form part of this new field. In particular two international journals (Chemistry of Materials, published by the American Chemical Society and the Journal of Materials Chemistry, published by the Royal Society of Chemistry in Great Britain) are achieving high impact factors and publish work emanating from every continent of the world. Yet there remains no definition of the phrase 'materials chemistry' agreed by the global chemical community. IUPAC being the most appropriate body to sponsor such a debate, the project proposed here aims to address this deficit.

Part of the difficulty in defining the scope of materials chemistry arises from the fact that it transcends the divisions separating the traditional branches of chemistry (e.g. organic and inorganic) or between continuous-lattice and molecular solids. To address these difficulties it appears necessary

  1. to assemble a small multi-national and multi-disciplinary Task Group representing different aspects of the subject;
  2. to harness their experience in compiling lists of relevant published material (books, reviews, chapters etc.), with links to other websites, leading to a set of brief statements summarizing current consensus about the scope of materials chemistry.

The Group will work mainly by electronic means but at least one meeting would be required. The aim is to publish the results through the IUPAC website. In parallel the Group will also report to IUPAC with recommendations on how the Union might best take official cognizance of this new discipline.



Last update: 4 May 2005

<project announcement published in Chem. Int. Sep-Oct 2005>

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