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Materials for energy: superconductors, H2 storage and batteries


Materials for energy: superconductors, H2 storage and batteries


Academic year 2021/2022

Course ID
Prof. Marco Truccato (Lecturer)
Prof. Paola Rizzi (Lecturer)
Prof. Marcello Baricco (Lecturer)
Degree course
Materials Science
2nd year
Teaching period
First semester
Course disciplinary sector (SSD)
FIS/03 - fisica della materia
ING-IND/22 - scienza e tecnologia dei materiali
Class Lecture
Type of examination

Sommario del corso


Course objectives

Energy production, harvesting, storage, use and saving represent crucial issues for the development of sustainable  economies and societies. The development of advanced materials along with their relevant technologies plays an important role in implementing effective solutions for these challenges. The present course is intended to face these problems by presenting the properties of a few classes of materials that are playing  an increasing role in the life cycle of energy. Among them, metallic low temperature superconductors as well as high-temperature superconducting oxides will be discussed from the point of view of their structure, properties, governing physics, main applications, economical opportunities and limits of their performances.   

Moreover, materials for energy storage,  energy harvesting and batteries will be discussed with special attention to hydrogen storage materials and thermoelectric materials. Principles for energy storage, energy harvesting and batteries will be described together with the strategies for the development of materials suitable for the applications.


Results of learning outcomes

  • Ability to describe the fundamental properties of various classes of superconducting materials and their respective fields of application, with special care to energy-related applications
  • Ability to master the basic concepts underlying the properties of superconducting materials
  • Ability to understand and manage fundamental physical models describing the properties of superconductors
  • Ability to describe the fundamental principles of hydrogen storage and energy harvesting.
  • Knowledge of the main hydrogen storage materials, thermoelectric materials and materials for batteries and knowledge of their properties
  • Understanding of the relationship between compositions, microstructures and properties of hydrogen storage materials and thermoelectric materials


  • BEHAVIOR OF NORMAL METALS: Pauli paramagnetism
  • PHENOMENOLOGY OF SUPERCONDUCTING MATERIALS: superconducting transition, critical magnetic field, critical current density.
  • THERMODYNAMICS OF THE SUPERCONDUCTING TRANSITION: difference in Gibbs free energy, entropy and specific heat between superconducting and normal state.
  • TYPE II SUPERCONDUCTORS: vortexes and their involvement in energy dissipation and in magnetic levitation.
  • CRYSTAL STRUCTURE AND ELECTRONIC PROPERTIES: Most common structures, role of oxygen doping in high-Tc superconductors, defect production for vortex pinning.
  • APPLICATIONS OF SUPERCONDUCTING MATERIALS: cables for electricity transport, power generators, electrical motors, levitation systems, electromagnets for research and medicine, digital circuits.
  • PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION OF SUPERCONDUCTING BEHAVIOR: The first London equation for non-dissipating electrons. The second London equation for perfect diamagnetism and magnetic penetration depth. Intuitive description of Cooper pairing.
  • Principles of energy storage
  • Description of batteries
  • Description of the different materials for hydrogen storage: metal compounds and relative metal hydrides; complex hydrides
  • Principles of energy harvesting
  • Description of materials for energy harvesting: thermoelectric materials

Course delivery

The course consists of 32 hours of lectures. Lectures will be given in person, but, following the University guidelines, will also be broadcast in live streaming at the following web pages:

Attendance to lectures is advised but not compulsory.

No pratical classes are foreseen for this course.


Learning assessment methods

The exams will be in person.

Remote examinations can be requested by students, provided that they are in one of the conditions specified by the University rules: a) health problems, b) living out of the Piedmont region, and c) in quarantine.

Examinations will be oral only and split into 2 sets of questions to be taken in series in the same session, each of them concerning the topics dealt with during each course module: i) superconductors, and ii) H storage and batteries.

Assessment criteria will be:

  • Ability to coherently and extensively organize a speech to introduce one of the topics of the course;
  • Critical thinking and capability to correlate different aspects of the course and to compare them with more general scientific knowledge;
  • Correct use of technical language;
  • Fluence in topic discussion;
  • Ability to discuss and prove mathematical formulae when requested.

Each of the 2 series of questions will results in independent marks expressed out of 30. 30 cum laude represents the maximum possibile outcome.

These 2 marks will be averaged after discussion beween the teachers in a non-deterministic way, where the mathematical average will represent the guideline, but the final outcome could also be slightly different follwing the contents of teachers' disussion.

Suggested readings and bibliography


Teachers’ notes.



A copy of slides is avaiable in Moodle


Class scheduleV

Lessons: dal 04/10/2021 to 22/12/2021

  • Open
    Enrollment opening date
    29/09/2021 at 17:00
    Last update: 12/04/2022 18:11
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