MEng Materials Science and Engineering with Textiles Technology / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Polymer Physics & Physical Properties

Course unit fact file
Unit code MATS42802
Credit rating 15
Unit level Level 7
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Department of Materials
Available as a free choice unit? No


The unit builds on prior knowledge of polymer physics and properties and introduces some new advanced physical properties to characterise elastomers and new polymers.


The unit aims to:

  1.  Provide an understanding of the principles underlying the structure property relationship of polymers and illustrate their applications as multifunctional materials, including polymer solar cells.
  2. Show how basic physical principles can be used to explain the behaviour of industrial materials and how they are processed and tailored to optimise their performance

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 and small-group tutorials, non-assessed problems/quizzes, 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/quizzes. 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

  • Identify the origin and nature of rubbery network elasticity and its mechanical description.
  • Apply the principles and underlying theories of common techniques for molecular and thermal characterisation of polymers.
  • Interpret and evaluate the results of various advanced polymer characterisation techniques and processing.
  • Design strategies for materials characterisation for specific applications
  • Design multi-functional polymers for specific applications including polymer solar cells

Intellectual skills

  • Apply knowledge of polymer structure and properties to explain the outcomes of polymer processing
  • Predict the mechanical properties of network polymers.
  • Explain the multi-functionality of “new” polymers.
  • Predict performance of polymer solar cell based on the structures of the polymer components used for construction.

Practical skills

  • Develop the ability to manipulate equations to calculate material properties

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Demonstrate improved logical reasoning, problem solving and ability in applied mathematics

Assessment methods

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

Feedback methods

Feedback given (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) 
  • Other books, chapters or articles as indicated by lecturers

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 30
Practical classes & workshops 6
Independent study hours
Independent study 114

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Brian Saunders Unit coordinator

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