Course Title: Polymer Science

Part A: Course Overview

Course ID: 038156

Course Title: Polymer Science

Credit Points: 12

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


135H Applied Sciences


Sem 2 2006

Course Coordinator: Professor Robert Shanks

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 2122

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 3.2.18

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

Students should have a background in both theoretical and practical chemistry, and have completed at least 24 credit points of year 1 level chemistry. Recommended courses are CHEM1236 Chemistry Theory & Lab 1B and CHEM1238Chemistry Theory & Lab 1D an equivalent course or provide evidence of equivalent capabilities.

Course Description

The physical concepts controlling the synthetic methods for polymerisation are studied in this course, along with the concepts linking the structure of polymers to their flow, processing and mechanical properties. Processes for making polymerisation reactions practical are considered. The principles for characterising the special properties of polymers in solution and in the solid state are then introduced. The chemistry of the stability of polymers in the various environments they encounter and the use of stabilisers is studied. The response of polymers to temperature and measurement by thermal analysis is introduced. The application and mechanism of action of additives to control the properties of polymers is studied. The structure-property-performance concepts are extended to commercial applications of polymers.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course aims to develop the fundamental, critical thinking, problem solving and communication skills of students who will be subsequently working as professional chemists with a specialisation in the area of polymer chemistry.

On completion of this course students should be able to:
• develop a responsibility for their own learning, and have the skills to teach themselves and others;
• develop a systematic approach to solving problems in areas related to polymer science;
• apply a range of laboratory techniques to the study of the properties, and to the characterisation, of polymers,
• present worked solutions to problems in a systematic and professional manner using conventional chemical and mathematical notation and symbols

Overview of Learning Activities

The learning activities included in this course are:

• attendance at lectures where syllabus material will be presented and explained, and the subject will be illustrated with demonstrations and examples;
• completion of tutorial questions and laboratory projects designed to give further practice in the application of theory and procedures, and to give feedback on student progress and understanding;
• completion of written assignments consisting of numerical and other problems requiring an integrated understanding of the subject matter; and
• private study, working through the course as presented in classes and learning materials, and gaining practice at solving conceptual and numerical problems.

Overview of Learning Resources

Students will be provided with lists of relevant texts, library resources (Including appropriate journals) and freely accessible Internet sites. Other material will be provided in class.
Recommended text for this course is:
Cowie J. M. G., Polymers: Chemistry and Physics of Modern Materials, 2nd Ed., Blackie 1991, ISBN 0 412 03121 3.

Overview of Assessment

In-class discussions, revision problems, and past exam papers are available for students to develop and to gauge their understanding of the lecture material. The assessment for this course comprises an examination at the end of semester and laboratory reports based on six exercises.