Introduction to Polymer Science: Chemistry

Course Descriptions:

The Introduction to Polymer Science series will cover basic scientific and engineering principles used in the polymer industry. The objective of this course is to provide an integrated view of polymer science and engineering, including the chemical structure of various polymers, methods of measuring the molecular weight, polymerization kinetics and reactors, rheological behavior, polymer processing technologies, and a variety of the engineering properties exhibited by polymers. In contrast to most other science and engineering courses where the students only study in depth one topic (e.g. chemical kinetics or fluid flow), this series will help the student appreciate how the various science and engineering methods are integrated in order to produce an important commercial product.

Students will Learn:

  • Step and chain growth mechanics for a variety of polymers.
  • Molecular weight and molecular weight distribution.
  • Experimental methods for measuring molecular weight and molecular weight distribution.

Course Modules:

Module 1 – Introduction and Addition Polymerization

  • Learning Objective: Develop a thorough understanding of what will be covered in this course, analyze the basic chemistry of addition polymerization, and discuss a number of commercially important polymers produced by addition polymerization.

Module 2 – Condensation Polymerization and Thermoset

  • Learning Objective: Analyze the chemistry of various commercially important polymers produced by condensation and discuss the chemical reactions and resulting molecular structure of a variety of thermoset polymers used as engineering materials.

Module 3 – Polymerization Catalysis and Molecular Weight & Distribution

  • Learning Objective: Analyze the chemistry of catalysts that are used in industrial polymerization and understand the importance, dissect the concept of molecular weight, and discuss the various types of molecular weight that are used to describing a polymer with a distribution of molecular weights.

Module 4 – Intrinsic and Membrane Osmometry

  • Learning Objective: Understand the physical principle behind intrinsic viscosity and membrane osmometry instruments, learn how intrinsic viscosity and osmometry measurements can be used to determine molecular weight, use the Polymer Laboratory Simulator to run virtual intrinsic viscosity and osmometry experiments and then analyze the data to determine the viscosity average and number average of molecular weight.

Module 5 – Light Scattering and Size Exclusion Chromotography

  • Learning Objective: Understand the physical principle behind light scattering and size exclusion chromatography instruments, learn how light scattering and size exclusion chromatography measurements can be used to determine molecular weight, and use the Polymer Laboratory Simulator to run virtual light scattering and size exclusion chromatography experiments and then analyze the data to determine the weight average molecular weight and molecular weight distribution.

Recommended Background:

  • This course is targeted toward undergraduate and graduate students pursuing degrees in chemistry or engineering.

Other Courses in the Series:

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