66694 - Fundamentals of Polymer Science with Laboratory

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2022/2023

Learning outcomes

The students will achieve basic knowledge of polymer science and will acquire the skills for the synthesis of polymeric products with different techiniques

Course contents


 Basic knowledge of organic chemistry, general chemistry and physical chemistry


Introduction to macromolecular chemistry 
Homopolymers and copolymers, configuration and stereoregularity, macromolecules conformations, polymerization processes, molecular weight and molecular weight distribution, structure - properties correlations 
Step growth polymerization 
Step growth reactions, experimental parameters effects on step growth polymerization , examples of step growth polymerization 
Chain polymerization 
Radical polymerization, radical polymerization techniques, cationic polymerization, anionic polymerization, Ziegler Natta polymerization. 
Copolymers classification, reactivity ratio definitions and their effect on copolymer composition, copolymers synthesis 
Polymer reactions 
Functionalization of polymers, industrial examples of polymer reactions, polymer crosslinking 
Polymer crystallinity 
Crystallization from polymer melt, crystallization degree and its experimental determination, polymer crystallization kinetic 
Glass transition temperature 
Definition of glass transition, internal and external factors influencing glass transition, glass transition temperature determination 

Molecular weight 
Determination of polymer molecular weight by colligative properties, viscosimetry, size exclusion chromatography, other methods for molecular weight determination 


The course also includes lectures and practical laboratory exercises concerning:
Synthesis of polymers by polyaddition and polycondensation reactions, and their purification.
Examples of the most commonly used polymerizations techniques (bulk, solution, interfacial) and functionalization reactions.
Characterization and analysis of polymeric materials.
Analysis and identification of natural, artificial and synthetic fibers


- Associazione Italiana di Scienza e Tecnologia delle Macromolecole, Fondamenti di Scienza dei Polimeri , Pacini editore (1998)

- Elisabetta Princi, Sintesi di Polimeri, Testi AIM, Edizioni Nuova Cultura (Roma) (2012)

- S. Bruckner, G. Allegra, M. Pegoraro, F.P. La Mantia, Scienza e Tecnologia dei Materiali Polimerici , Edises editore (2001)

Teaching methods

The institutional course consists of classroom lessons, the resolution of numerical example relating to the issues addressed and discussions with students.

The lab course, in addition to lectures is made of laboratory experiments, that must be carried out by students.

As concerns the teaching methods of this course unit, all students must attend Module 1, 2  online, while Module 3 on health and safety is to be attended in class. Information about Module 3 attendance schedule is available on the website of your degree programme

Assessment methods

The final examination aims to ascertain the level reached for the objectives listed under "learning outcome".

It consists in a written examination aimed to verify the knowledge acquired both in the courses of "fundamentals of polymer science" and "polymer science laboratory".

Laboratory course attendance is mandatory for sustaining the exam.Laboratory work is done in groups and must be followed by the presentation of a report for each topic at least 15 days before the date of the examination.


Teaching tools

Videoprjection of the lessons is used in classroom.  
The students are also able to obtain directly the above material form Insegnamenti On Line 


Students with DSA or disabilities can contact Servizio Studenti con Disabilità e DSA dell’Università di Bologna(http://www.studentidisabili.unibo.it/ [http://http/www.studentidisabili.unibo.it/], Italian only), the Department contact person (Prof. Giorgio Bencivenni, giorgio.bencivenni2@unibo.it [mailto: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 Daniele Caretti

See the website of Elisabetta Salatelli

See the website of Tiziana Benelli