This book attempts to address all aspects of the very broad discipline of materials chemistry

Materials chemistry

Bradley D Fahlman 

Springer 2007 | 485pp | ?54.00 (HB) ISBN 9781402061196 

Reviewed by Colin Greaves 

This book attempts to address all aspects of the very broad discipline of materials chemistry, and the level is aimed at undergraduate and first year graduate students. After a useful introduction to the topic, the focus shifts gradually from inorganic fundamentals through organic and nanomaterials to the final section on characterisation. To provide sufficient depth and breadth is probably an impossible task in a book of this size, but the author has made a valiant 
attempt and the book is very readable.

The sections on semiconducting materials and nanomaterials are well presented. However, the overall balance of the book has to be questioned: some topics receive superficial or no attention -eg. ionic conductors, inorganic magnetic materials (although molecular magnets are in fact discussed!) and ferroelectrics - whereas the design of integrated circuits (with little chemistry involvement) is discussed in depth. It is also strange that despite the indication in the first chapter that the book covers x-ray diffraction, this (and related topics) are not 
in fact considered at all, and the emphasis is on surface techniques.

So to what extent will this book fill a niche for materials chemistry in undergraduate courses? Notwithstanding aspects of the overall balance (difficult to satisfy everyone on this!) I found too many basic, factual errors to be able to recommend this book for this purpose. Examples include the incorrect/misleading description of unit cells, and the suggestions that BaFe2O4 and BaFe12O19 are spinels and CrFe2O4 contains Cr2+

The quality of some of the figures is also not good - some taken from internet sites and a strange mix of structural representations including ball-stick photographs and computer graphics. So a useful read for those with some prior knowledge of the area, but I doubt it will be a significant recommended text at undergraduate or masters levels.