Programme And Module Handbook
Course Details in 2021/22 Session

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Module Title Polymer Science and Soft Matter
SchoolMetallurgy and Materials
Department Metallurgy & Materials
Module Code 04 18515
Module Lead Dr Stephen Kukureka
Level Masters Level
Credits 10
Semester Semester 2
Restrictions MRes in the Science and Engineering of Materials
Description This module is an introduction to modern advanced topics in polymer science and soft matter. It includes: Preparatory reading on polymer structure, properties and processing; Polymer synthesis. Step-growth and free radical polymerisation. The glass transition temperature and spherulites. DSC and FT-ir. `Rough guides┬┐ to the techniques. Factors affecting Tg, miscibility and crystallisation. TPE and thermally-reversible cross-links. Thermodynamics of mixing applied to polymer blends. Flory-Huggins theory of miscibility. Principles of cyclic polymers. In situ polymerisation, crystallisation and blending. Case study of blending and instrumental techniques. Thermodynamics of melting applied to thermotropic liquid crystal polymers. Examples of thermotropic, mouldable polyesters. Lyotropic liquid crystal polymers. Summary of block copolymer features and morphologies.

Case studies on a variety of advanced topics such as: block copolymers, dendrimers, polymer brushes and surfaces, liquid crystalline polymers, cyclic polymers, polymers for displays, OLEDs and functional polymers, supercritical fluid processing, polymer optical fibres and sensors, biodegradable polymers and polymers for drug delivery, polymer tribology, crystallisation, physical ageing and structure development, polymer blends.

Laboratory work with examples of the use of characterisation techniques including: microscopy (optical, SEM, TEM, AFM), FTIR, DSC, TGA, NMR, neutron scattering, SAXD and WAXD, SCF processing, reactive blending, specialised mechanical testing, tribological testing.
Learning Outcomes On successful completion of the module, students should be able to:
  • Explain the principal features of modern methods of polymer synthesis;
  • Relate synthesis and processing to morphology to explain polymer structures;
  • Predict polymer properties from structures for a variety of examples in modern polymer science;
  • Use laboratory techniques and be familiar with selected polymer characterisation techniques;
  • Investigate, summarise and explain advanced topics orally and in writing.
Assessment 18515-01 : Module Mark : Exam (School Arranged) - Open Book (100%)
Assessment Methods & Exceptions One hour written exam (50%), coursework (50%)
Reading List