67067 - Polymer Science and Laboratory

Course Unit Page


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

Responsible consumption and production

Academic Year 2022/2023

Learning outcomes

The course aims to give basic knowledge about the chemical structure of polymeric materials, the different synthetic pathway in particular on the industrial level and about characterization of products. Furthermore, students will study the synthesis of the main structural and functional polymeric materials and the spectroscopic and analytical methods to characterize macromolecules. The course includes practical labs and aims to give a comprehensive survey covering the practical synthesis and characterization of this class of compounds.

Course contents

Prerequisites - The student should have a good knowledge of the basic organic chemistry: organic compounds nomenclature, rudiments on the properties and reactivity of the fundamental functional groups.

Introduction to macromolecular chemistry.

Polymers: general definitions. Homopolymers and copolymers, configuration and stereoregularity, polymerization process. Molecular weight and molecular weight distribution.

Mechanism of step polymerization. Polycondensation, polyaddition.

Mechanism of chain polymerization. Radical, cationic, anionic and coordinated anionic polymerization.

Random, alternating, block, graft copolymers. Copolymerization reactions, reactivity ratios of comonomers.

Polymer reactions.

Composite materials.

Crystalline and amorphous state of polymers. Glass transition temperature.

Polymers structure and properties. Stress/strain plots. Thermoplastic and thermosetting materials. Elastomeric properties.

Characterization of polymeric materials.

Polymer processing.

The course includes lessons and practical experiences of laboratory concerning:

Identification of polymeric materials.

Synthesis of polymeric materials by polyaddition and polycondensation.

Characterization of synthesized polymers (spectroscopic, thermal and GPC analysis).

Natural and synthetic fibers.


E. Princi, Sintesi di Polimeri, Edizioni Nuova Cultura, 2012, Roma

AIM - Fondamenti di struttura, proprietà e tecnologia dei polimeri, Edizioni Nuova Cultura, 2012, Roma

AIM - Fondamenti di Scienza dei Polimeri, Pacini Editore, 2003, Pisa

J. W. Nicholson, The Chemistry of Polymers, RSC Paperbacks 2nd Edition, 1997, Cambridge

A. Ravve, Principles of Polymer Chemistry, Plenum Press, 1995, New York and London

N.G. McCrum, C.P. Buckley, C.B. Bucknall, Principles of Polymer Engineering, Oxforf Science Publications, 2nd edition, 1997

Teaching methods

The teaching activities are performed through lessons. Laboratory activities on relevant topics are carried out in parallel.

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 learning assessment is performed through a final oral examination by which the achievement of a sufficient threshold of knowledges and abilities by the candidate is ascertained and evaluated.

Teaching tools

The contents of the course are presented by pc videoprojections. Electronic presentations by the teachers will be available on-line.

Office hours

See the website of Elisabetta Salatelli

See the website of Tiziana Benelli