TKP4130 - Polymer Chemistry


Examination arrangement

Examination arrangement: Polymer Design Group Report
Grade: Letter grades

Evaluation Weighting Duration Grade deviation Examination aids
Polymer Design Group Report 100/100

Course content

The course provides an introduction to polymer chemistry. Synthesis mechanisms and resultant polymer architectures are described for chain-growth and step-growth polymerizations. Modern synthesis methods such as reversible deactivation radical polymerization (RDRP), living polymerization, and coordination polymerization are taught. Fundamental knowledge is provided with respect to polymerization kinetics, network formation, and gelation. Industrial polymerization processes are considered with respect to production rates as well as the form and properties of the reaction mass and final product. Chain conformations, morphology, and transitions from liquid (melt) to solid (polymer crystal or glass) states are discussed using principles of thermodynamics, kinetics, and free volume. Polymer solubility, mutual miscibility, and phase diagrams are established based on Flory Huggins theory. Knowledge is conveyed of polymer molecular weight determination via osmotic pressure, viscometry, and size exclusion chromatography (SEC). A cursory introduction is provided to the mechanical and rheological properties of polymers. A recurring theme in the course is polymer design pursuant to the United Nations (UN) sustainable development goals.

Learning outcome

At the end of the course the students should be able to:

- Explain (1) step-growth and chain-growth polymerization, with respect to synthesis mechanisms and kinetic theory, (2) crystalline melting temperature and glass transition temperature, including the influence of thermal history and kinetics, and (3) the flow properties of polymer melts and polymer solutions, with respect to temperature and molecular weight.

- Derive and define gelation conditions for step-growth polymerizations containing multi-functional monomers, and designate synthesis procedures to achieve gelation.

- Distinguish between enthalpic and entropic contributions to polymer crystallization, and interpret the role of factors such as polymer structure, molecular weight, and dilution on polymer crystallization processes.

- Interpret experimental data and determine parameters such as polymerization rates, reactivity ratios, and co-polymer composition, as well as predict changes with time in produced polymer composition and characteristics for a given co-polymerization process, based on these parameters.

- Calculate polymer solubility in solvents, as well as the mutual miscibility of polymer pairs.

- Analyze instrumental data for polymer molecular weight determination via viscometry, osmotic pressure and size exclusion chromatrography.

- Critically review polymer research reports and judge the technical utility and implications of the documented results, also with respect to environmental considerations and sustainability.

- Recognize that polymer-related issues can be complex and incomplete and contain contradictory conditions, especially with respect to mechanical and rheological properties.

- Demonstrate an ability to acquire knowledge within new polymer-related applications in the context of innovation and development of polymer materials and related processes, also with respect to sustainability considerations.

- Communicate challenges, analyses, and conclusions related to polymer chemistry, both orally and in writing, also with respect to United Nations (UN) sustainable development goals.

Learning methods and activities

Mini-lectures, group-based discussions with subsequent summarizing in plenum, digital quizzes, group-based student-active problem solving, group presentations, self-study, group-based literature review, and group project work.

Expected workload per week is 4 hours of student-active lectures, 4 hours of self-study and 4 hours of group work.

Further on evaluation

Assessment consists of a 65 page polymer design group report (3 or 4 students per group).

Course materials

P. C. Painter and M. M. Coleman: Fundamentals of Polymer Science, 2. ed.

Credit reductions

Course code Reduction From To
SIK2043 7.5
More on the course



Version: 1
Credits:  7.5 SP
Study level: Second degree level


Term no.: 1
Teaching semester:  SPRING 2024

Language of instruction: English

Location: Trondheim

Subject area(s)
  • Technological subjects
Contact information
Course coordinator: Lecturer(s):

Department with academic responsibility
Department of Chemical Engineering


Examination arrangement: Polymer Design Group Report

Term Status code Evaluation Weighting Examination aids Date Time Examination system Room *
Spring ORD Polymer Design Group Report 100/100



Room Building Number of candidates
  • * The location (room) for a written examination is published 3 days before examination date. If more than one room is listed, you will find your room at Studentweb.

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