88391 - Polymers for Environment and Energy Applications

Academic Year 2021/2022

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Low Carbon Technologies and Sustainable Chemistry (cod. 9246)

Learning outcomes

Chemistry and technology of polymers for environmental and energy applications. The peculiar polymer properties, such as their lightness, robustness, low cost, flexibility and easy processability in terms of potential environmental applications. The application as energy harvesting devices, energy storage devices, light-emitting devices, and electrically driving sensors.

Course contents


Basic knowledge of organic chemistry, general chemistry and physical chemistry concepts.


  • Brief introduction on impact and vision of polymers from an environmental and energy point of view:
    • Features of polymers and their applications in energy and electronics
    • Polymers as lightweight materials for energy saving.
  • Polymer for electronic applications (Electronic polymers), general concepts:
    • Aggregation structures: amorphous, crystalline;
    • Morphology: nanoparticles, (nano)fibres, films (bulk and porous), gels;
    • Properties: mechanical properties, electronic properties, electrochemical properties, electroluminescent properties, stability, biocompatibility
    • Electronic polymer composites: methods of production, structure, properties.
  • Energy Harvesting Based on Polymers:
    • Photovoltaic devices;
    • Thermoelectric generators;
    • Piezoelectric transducers;
    • Triboelectric Generator.
  • Energy Storage Devices Based on Polymers:
    • Supercapacitor;
    • Lithium-Ion Batteries Based on Polymers;
  • Light Emitting Based on Polymers:
    • Light-Emitting Conjugated Polymers;
    • Polymer Light-Emitting Diodes;
  • Electrically Driving Sensors Based on Polymer:
    • Electromechanical Actuators;
    • Electrochromic Materials and Devices;
  • Composites as Energy-saving Lightweight Materials:
    • Composites structure and components;
    • Matrices;
    • Reinforcements;
    • Production methods

Students will be offered the opportunity to develop a project about a subject of choice belonging to the above syllabus, that will be publicly presented to the other students (15-20 minutes talk) as a part of the final lectures. All the projects will be made available to other students as part of the course material in the Moodle repository on-line space.


The course will made ample use of the text:

H. Peng, X. Sun, W. Weng, X. Fang “Polymer Materials for Energy and Electronic Applications”, Academic Press, 1st ed., 2017

which is intended as a suggested lecture.

A copy of the book will be available in the Department’s library for student’s reference.

All the lectures slides will be made available to the students prior every lecture (usually the day before) on the on-line Moodle repository, a direct link to which can be found in the on-line page of the present course. Students that officially choose the course can automatically access the materials with UniBo ID. If students find problems in accessing the on-line Moodle repository they can contact the teacher to solve the issue.

Scientific papers of outstanding importance discussed along the course, together with the material gathered by the students within projects development, will be made available once again in a dedicated room within the on-line Moodle repository of the course.

The projects developed by the students will be also made available to other students by the end of the semester, after careful revision from the teacher.

Teaching methods

The course will be mainly held as room lectures with the help of Power Point Presentations. The lectures will be also streamed on TEAM for the students unable to be present due to the COViD-19 emergency and restraints. More up to date information on the situation is available here. During the course students will be encouraged to enter active class discussion about open issues within the course development. Students participation and active suggestions will be addressed and followed.

Students will also be offered the opportunity to develop a project about a subject of choice belonging to the syllabus. The project is not compulsory. The development of the project, that has to approach a problem (previously discussed and agreed upon with the teacher) and provide the students perspective on it based on literature survey and open class discussion, will be part of the final mark evaluation (30%) and will be offered public audience, as part of the final lectures. All the projects will be also made available to other students as part of the course material in the Moodle repository on-line space.

Assessment methods

After completing the course, the student should be able to:

  • Evaluate structures and properties of polymers for electronics
  • Assess the functionality of different polymers in different aspects of electronic applications
  • Navigate the structural/functional properties of composites and nanocomposites in terms of environmental applications

Learning assessment is based on oral examination at the end of the course and, in the case the students choose it, on the project they developed and presented during the course. The oral exam will be made of three questions: the first one will be on a subject chosen from the student among the ones from the syllabus.  In the case students will choose to develop and present their project, the first question will be considered already done. In this first case the mark will be 100% based on the final oral examination outcome, in the case the student choose to participate in the project 30% of the final mark will be based on the project (ability in approaching the problem of choice, evaluation of the literature and quality of the final presentation) that has to be held during the semester, while the remaining 70% of the mark will be based on the final oral examination.

In order to attend the final examination, students must register online within the given deadlines (registration usually closes one day before the exam date). The oral examination will last about 20 to 30 minutes.

Teaching tools

Room lectures with the aid of power point presentation. The presentations will be available on line on Moodle repository platform before the lectures.

Additional material for reference will also be made available on Moodle repository platform.

Students with DSA or disabilities can contact Servizio Studenti con Disabilità e DSA dell’Università di Bologna (Italian only), the Department contact person (Prof. Giorgio Bencivenni, giorgio.bencivenni2@unibo.it) or directly the teacher to address the most convenient approach for accessing teaching materials and supports, and to gain access to all the convenient services and areas of the Departments (i.e. room for frontal lectures).

Office hours

See the website of Laura Mazzocchetti


Quality education Affordable and clean energy Sustainable cities Responsible consumption and production

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.