cod. 1012260

Academic year 2024/25
1° year of course - First semester
Academic discipline
Chimica industriale (CHIM/04)
Chimica e fisica della materia
Type of training activity
55 hours
of face-to-face activities
6 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Integrated course unit module: Structural Materials

Learning objectives

Incorporate sustainability principles into polymer science concepts.
Understanding the structure and the properties of sustainable polymers.
Undestanding the circular economy approach in the polymer field.
Evaluate the application and fate of polymers as function of their chemical structure.


Principles of Organic Chemistry, Basic of macromolecular chemistry: polymer structures; thermoplastic and thermosetting systems; Characteristic temperature for polymers systems (Glass transition melting and cristallization temperatures)
For those who have not attended a polymer chemistry course a short recap of basic polymer chemistry will be provided (max 1 CFU)

Course unit content

Knowledge and understanding: the aim of the course is to give to the student fundamentals on the production and properties of renewable, sustainable and reprocessable polymeric materials.

Full programme

Theoretical part (5 CFU)
1. Definition of sustainability, sustainable polymers, Main categories of polymers: biobased and synthetic polymers
2. Plastics durability and degradation: aging mechanisms (thermal degradation, mechanical oxidation, thermal oxidation, photolysis and photo-oxidation) examples of degradation of some relevant plastics. Polymer stabilization. Evaluation of span life (accelerated ageing, oxidation index, evaluation of induction time)
3. The Problem of plastic Pollution: End-of-life management: classification of recycling typology: primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary recycle, feedstock recycling.
4. Natural polymers (proteins, lipids, polyesters); synthetic biobased polymers (non biodegradable bioplastics such as bio-PE, PA-11, PTT; biodegradable natural plastics such as PLA, PHA, PBS, fossil-based biodegradable plastics such as PBAT and PCL. Examples of industrial application.
5. Thermosets reprocessability: vitrimers

Lab experiences (1 CFU)
1. Synthesis and characterization of polylactic acid (PLA);
2. Determination of the molecular weight of polymers by GPC
3. Mechanical extrusion of PLA
4. Synthesis of a vitrimer


Handsout and ppt presentations provided by the teachers. In specific cases scientific papers will be provided

Teaching methods

The course will be delivered in 40 Hours of lectures (5CFU) and 15 Hours of laboratories. (1 CFU).

Assessment methods and criteria

Written and oral exam, to be held in English or Italian at the student's choice.
The questions will span all the topics treated during the course. This type of examination allows to determine in an absolute and comparative fashion:
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.
Each question will be given a mark from 0 to 5, corrected, if needed, with a weighting scheme related to the difficulty of the question. All the marks will be summed up and scaled to yield a grade in the 30/30 range. The oral examination will determine the ability of the candidate to connect and apply the notions acquired in the frame of real case. The grade of the oral will add form 0 to 3 points to the written examination to give the final grade in the 30/30.

Other information

Handsout and PPT presentations will be posted on Elly. The teachers are availbale for explanations by appointment. At least 5 exam dates per session are planned.