Introduction to Polymer Chemistry - LABS4130

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2023 to 2024
Year 4 15 (7.5) checkmark-circle


A synopsis of the curriculum

• Introduction to polymers (e.g. size, properties, nomenclature)
• Step-growth polymerisation (e.g. nylons, polyesters, polycarbonates)
• Radical chain polymerisation (e.g. polystyrene, polyacrylates, PVC)
• Ionic polymerizations (e.g. polystyrene, poly(vinyl ethers), synthetic rubber)
• Characterization techniques (e.g. SEC, DSC, NMR, DMA)


Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 120
Private Study Hours: 30
Total Study Hours: 150

Method of assessment

Portfolio 30%
Assignments 40% - 2 Assignments (20% each)
MCQ – 30%
The pass mark for each individual assessment is 40%. All assessments must be passed in order to pass the module

Indicative reading

Mark, James E., Physical Properties of Polymer Handbook (2nd edition), Springer (2007)
Brazel, C.S., Fundamental Principles of Polymeric Materials (3rd. ed.), John Wiley & Sons Inc, Hoboken, 2012.
Cowie, J.M.G., Polymers Chemistry and Physics of Modern Materials (3rd. ed.), CRC Press, Boca Raton, 2008.

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
Identify common monomers and polymers and name major classes of polymers.
Understand and calculate molecular weight averages.
Understand basic principles of step-growth & chain-growth polymerisation.
Discuss the different types of polymerisation.
Discuss the basic methods used to characterise polymers.
Understand glass transition and discuss the different types of polymer morphologies/structures.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
Demonstrate the development of practical/technical skills.
Demonstrate an ability to analyse, evaluate and correctly interpret data.
Demonstrate an ability to present and communicate data.
Demonstrate an ability to obtain and use information from a variety of sources as part of self-directed learning.
Demonstrate time-management and organisational skills within the context of self-directed learning.


  1. Credit level 4. Certificate level module usually taken in the first stage of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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