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MSE412 : Polymeric Materials

The synthesis, characterization, microstructure, rheology and properties of polymer materials. Polymers in solution and in the liquid-crystalline, crystalline and glassy states. Engineering and design properties including viscoelasticity, yielding and fracture. Forming and processing methods. Recycling and environmental issues.

Course Topics:

  1. Polymer synthesis: including addition, chain growth, network formation, and copolymers.
  2. Molecular structure and architecture: tacticity, branching, networks, copolymers.
  3. Molecular weight distribution.
  4. Rotational isomeric states, chain configuration in dilute solutions and condensed states.
  5. Characterization of molecular wt. and distribution: light scattering, osmometry, intrinsic viscosity, gel permeation chromatography.
  6. Solidification: glass formation, crystallization, changes in thermal, physical, and mechanical properties.
  7. Structure and morphology of the condensed states: melt, liquid crystalline, glass, spherulites, alloys, multicomponent materials, processing effects. Thermal effects of rheological behavior. Time temperature equivalence, WLF equation, Arrhenius behavior.
  8. Mechanical behavior of solids: viscoelasticity, Boltzman superposition principle, failure behavior and criteria, design considerations.
  9. Multicomponent systems: strengthening, toughening, alloys and blends, other additives.
  10. Forming and shaping: injection molding, blow molding, sheet forming, film forming. Effect of processing on structure and properties.
  11. Material selection and design considerations.

Course Objectives:

  1. To provide students with an elementary understanding of the synthesis and characterization of polymers
  2. To teach students current knowledge of the relationship between polymer solid structure and properties.
  3. To teach students basic knowledge about polymeric behavior so that they can make informed decisions on how to choose an appropriate material in an application.
  4. To teach viscoelastic behavior and their temperature dependence, and concepts of time-temperature equivalence in various viscoelastic regimes.
  5. To provide students with basic knowledge about the mechanical behavior of polymers so that they can make simple predictions for design.
  6. To teach students current knowledge about processing techniques and how they influence the properties of polymers.

Course Outcomes:

  1. Given a polymer structure be able to specify the generic synthesis scheme and predict typical molecular weight distribution.
  2. Given a polymer be able to describe technique to characterize its molecular weight and distribution, thermal behavior, mechanical behavior, and morphology.
  3. Given a polymer molecular mass distribution be able to calculate number, weight and viscosity average molecular weights and degree of polymerization.
  4. Given bond angle restrictions, bond lengths and molecular mass, be able to calculate the most probable radius of gyration, and end-to-end distance.
  5. Given micrographs of polymer crystals be able to identify the various features and how they depend on thermal history.
  6. Given calorimetric or density data be able to calculate the degree of crystallinity of semicrystalline polymers and identify phase transitions.
  7. Given the dynamic mechanical data of a polymer be able to predict viscoelastic behavior using time temperature equivalence and WLF equation.
  8. Given a viscoelastic constitutive equation be able to predict linear viscoelastic behavior using Boltzmann?s Superposition Principle.
  9. Be able to describe approaches to strengthening, toughening and modifying the key physical, mechanical and chemical properties of polymers.
  10. Given the shape of an object be able to specify the best processing techniques for achieving the shape and describe limitations and advantages.
  11. Given a processing technique be able to describe its effect on molecular orientation morphology and mechanical behavior.
  12. Given a set of performance and processing requirements for a plastic component and material data be able to select the most suitable materials for manufacturing the component.

Assessment Tools:

  1. In-class closed book exams test all objectives for individual students.
  2. Weekly problem sets test all objectives under less time pressure and with the possibility of student collaboration.