MEng Materials Science and Engineering with Polymers / Course details

Year of entry: 2022

Course unit details:
Polymer Synthesis & Characterisation

Course unit fact file
Unit code MATS31902
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 6
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Department of Materials
Available as a free choice unit? No

Overview

The unit builds on prior knowledge of step-growth and chain polymerisations and introduces some new polymerisation methods. Emphasis is placed on the chemistry and theory that underpins the key principles for controlling polymerisation reactions, and of the techniques used to characterise the composition, structure and thermal behaviour of polymers.

Aims

The unit aims to:

  • Provide students with the ability to discuss and explain the principles and theory underlying a selection of important chain and step-growth polymerisation methods and predict the effects of polymerisation conditions on polymerisation kinetics and the properties of the polymers produced.
  • Provide students with the ability to describe the principles and underlying theory of common techniques for molecular and thermal characterisation of polymers and choose appropriate techniques for synthesis and characterisation of specific polymers.
  • Develop the students’ ability to find, read, explain and critically review scientific literature, and work in a group to address a polymer science challenge.
  • Improve students’ capabilities in the use of applied mathematics, polymer physics and polymer chemistry.

 

 

Learning outcomes

A greater depth of the learning outcomes will be covered in the following sections:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Intellectual skills
  • Practical skills
  • Transferable skills and personal qualities

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures, online learning resources (Blackboard), group tutorials, non-assessed problems, assessed coursework, recommended textbooks, web resources, past exam papers, electronic supporting information (Blackboard), feedback sessions, revision sessions. Formative feedback will be available during synchronous sessions and model solutions to problems. Non-assessed questions will form the basis of group tutorials in which the answers will be discussed. Feedback will also be given on the outcomes of assessments.

 

 

Knowledge and understanding

a.      Discuss and explain the principles and theory underlying important polymerisation methods.

b.      Predict the effects of polymerisation conditions on polymerisation kinetics and the properties of the polymers produced.

c.       Describe and explain the principles and underlying theory of common techniques for molecular and thermal characterisation of polymers.

d.       Choose appropriate techniques for synthesis and characterisation of specific polymers.

Intellectual skills

a.      Show improved logical reasoning, problem solving and ability in applied mathematics and chemistry.

b.      Identify the conditions required to produce a polymer with defined properties.

c.       Identify the appropriate technique for the characterisation of given polymer systems.

d.      Assess and interpret data from characterisation techniques in order to determine polymer properties.

e.      Ability to relate polymer structure and properties with synthesis method.

Practical skills

a.      Perform searches of the scientific literature.

b.      In the context of polymer science; read, explain and critically review a journal article.

c.      Select suitable techniques for solving problems on polymer synthesis & characterisation and critically analyse the solution proposed.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

a.      Solve problems utilising appropriate methods.

b.      Assess data critically.

c.      Communicate reliably and effectively, both individually and as part of a group.

d.      Write a report as part of a group.

e.       Assess peers fairly and critically.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 70%
Written assignment (inc essay) 30%

Feedback methods

Written and verbal

Recommended reading

  • “Introduction to Polymers”, R.J. Young and P.A. Lovell, 3rd Edition, CRC Press, 2011 (or 2nd Edition, CRC Press, 1991)
  • “Polymer Chemistry: An Introduction”, M.P. Stevens, 3rd Ed., OUP, 1999.
  • “Principles of Polymerisation”, G. Odian, all editions
  • “Polymers: Chemistry and Physics of Modern Materials”, J.M.G. Cowie, all editions
  • “Principles of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry”, P. Haines 
  • “Atkins' Physical Chemistry”, P. Atkins and J. de Paula

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 20
Practical classes & workshops 6
Tutorials 3
Independent study hours
Independent study 71

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Lee Fielding Unit coordinator

Return to course details