cod. 1009687

Academic year 2023/24
3° year of course - First semester
- Luca CAPALDO - Alessandro PEDRINI
Academic discipline
Chimica industriale (CHIM/04)
Processi e applicazioni industriali
Type of training activity
117 hours
of face-to-face activities
12 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Learning objectives

Knowledge and understanding: polymers are one of the most advanced fields of research in Materials Science. Polymer Science is an highly multidisciplinary field, spanning from organic chemistry to mechanical engineering, which cannot be treated extensively in a single course. Object of the present course is the general introduction to the field of polymer chemistry.
Applying knowledge and understanding: the student will be able to apply the acquired theoretical knowledge in Organic and Physical Chemistry to the field of polymer chemistry.
The students will have to be able to:
a) correlate the concepts (making judgements);
b) use them as theoretical background to tackle topics on polymer science not necessarily handled during the course, but connected with it;
c) explain them in an organize way using a proper scientific language.


Proficiency in basic organic chemistry and basic physical chemistry.

Course unit content

- Introduction to polymers.
- Polymer synthesis.
- Characterization of polymers.
- Microscopic structure of polymeric materials.
- Structure-property relationships.
- Viscoelastic properties.
- Mechanical properties.
- Processing of polymers.
- Polymer recycle.

Full programme

- Introduction to polymers: definitions and nomenclature; average molecular weight; isomerism and stereoisomerism; main classes of polymers, thermodynamic conditions for - Introduction to polymers: definitions and nomenclature; average molecular weight; isomerism and stereoisomerism; classification of the main classes of polymers, thermodynamic conditions for polymerization.
- Polymer synthesis:
Step-growth polymerization: statistical treatment, gelation theory, bifunctional polycondensation kinetics.
Chain-growth polymerization; radical, cationic, anionic, coordinated; radical polymerization kinetics.
Ziegler-Natta catalysis
Polymerization processes
Controlled radical polymerizations: NMP, ATRP, RAFT
- Characterization of polymers:
Properties of polymers in solution
Methods of determination of average Mw via osmometry, light scattering, viscosimetry and GPC
Spectroscopic methods: NMR
- Microscopic structure of polymeric materials:
Conformational analysis; weak inter and intramolecular interactions; ordered conformations; morphology.
Crystallization, melting and Tg
Elastomers, fibers, structural proteins and plastic substances
- Structure-property relationships:
Diffusion and permeability; membranes, porous polymeric materials, BET
Optical properties
- Viscoelastic properties:
Mechanical models of viscoelastic behavior
Time-temperature equivalence
Dynamic mechanical analysis
- Mechanical properties:
Stress strain curves
Young's modulus
Measurements of creep, relaxation and elastic behaviour
Fracture mechanics
- Processing of polymers:
Rheology of the molten polymer
Main transformation technologies of plastic materials
Polymer matrix composite materials
- Polymer recycling:
Main sorting and recycling technologies
Stabilization and compatibilization


Scienza e Tecnologia dei Materiali, S. Brückner et. al., terza edizione, 2016, Edises.
Fondamenti di Scienza dei Polimeri, M.Guaita et al., 2009, Edizioni Nuova Cultura.
Handouts by the teacher, available on Elly.

Teaching methods

The course is organized in 72 teaching hours in which the students are guided to learn and understand the basic concepts of Polymer Science. This theoretical part is integrated by lab experiences for additional 45 hours, in which the student learn how to synthetize, characterize and process the most basic classes of polymers. The attendance of the labs is mandatory.

Assessment methods and criteria

Written and oral examination
To verify the level of learning achieved, written tests with open questions will be employed. The questions will span all the topics treated during the course. This type of examination allows to determine: 1) the competence on the different subjects; 2) the ability in giving precise answers to specific questions; 3) the presentation skills; 4) the exactness of the scientific language employed.
Two partial written exams, weighting respectively 1/3 and 2/3 of the written grade. The marks of the two written exams will be summed up and scaled to yield a grade in the 30/30 range. Then the oral examination will determine the ability of the student to discuss and correlate the topics learned. The oral will add or subtract from 0 to 3 points to the grade of the written examination.

Other information

The teacher is available for questions upon appointment. At least two exam dates per session are foreseen.