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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Engineering : Postgrad (School of Engineering)

Postgraduate Course: Polymer Science and Engineering (MSc) (PGEE11152)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Engineering CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThis course gives an introduction to polymer science and engineering, covering the properties of polymers, polymer reactions and reactors, and polymer forming processes. The first 14 lectures are taught jointly with MECE10009 Polymers and Composite Materials 4, and the remainder of the course, on polymer reaction engineering, is covered by independent study guided by seminars and tutorials.
Course description 1. Introduction to polymers: Overview of applications
2. Polymer classification and terminology. Overview of properties
3. "The product as process".
4. Colligative properties: measurement and characterisation of molecular weight distribution. Diffusion and other transport properties.
5. Solubility and phase behaviour of common polymers.
6. Polymer thermal properties and microstructure: melting point and glass transition temperature.
7. Rheological measurements of polymer melts. Interpretation of results. Power law model of rheometer flow.
8. Flow phenomena: tensile viscosity, viscoelastic effects and spring-and-dashpot models, die-swell, flow instabilities.
9. Flow of Newtonian fluid in a tapered die. Comparison of creeping flow approximation with observed melt behaviour. Effects resulting from non-Newtonian character of polymer melts.
10. Elasticity, stress-strain behaviour, creep: significance for moulding and forming processes; and for service life of plastics.
11. Engineering properties of rubber. Failure modes of polymers. Polymer composites.
12. Environmental considerations. Polymer degradation and biodegradability.
13. Flow-forming processes for traditional materials: casting, moulding, pressing, extrusion.
14. Melt forming: the single-screw extruder. Heat transfer considerations. Newtonian flow model.
15. Making polymers: polymerisation mechanisms, free radical chain reactions; condensation polymerisation; coordination (Zeigler) polymerisation. (2 seminars)
16. Polymer reaction engineering. Objectives of reactor design: batch, plugflow, CSTR. Batch Fed Reactor polymerisation. Order of reaction.
17. Reactions in a CSTR; heat balance, polymer chain length.
18. Copolymerisation: effect of monomer ratio.
19. Segregated flow reactors: fluidised bed process for LLDPE. Oil-drop polymerisation. Development of polymerisation processes.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2018/19, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 20, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 10, Formative Assessment Hours 1, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 65 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 100 %, Coursework 0 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Written Exam 100%
Feedback Feedback will be provided orally both in the briefing sessions for the reaction engineering component and within the tutorials on completed attempts at the questions set. Class-wide feedback will also be provided on the final examination.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. CS: Explain the relationship between polymer properties (thermal, rheological, mechanical), and polymer microstructure and molecular weight; Relate polymer properties to their processing and uses; Explain methods for determining the microstructure and molecular weight of polymers and describe the significance of polymer solubility, melting point and glass transition temperature.
  2. K&U: Describe different types of polymerisation process, and the significance in each of: initiation, propagation, termination, branching; and, for copolymerisation, reactivity ratios and monomer ratio.
  3. Practice: Calculate average molecular weights of polymers knowing the conversion and/or other reaction conditions; Calculate the ratio of monomer types in copolymerisation and predict the type of sequence obtained; Determine the data required for the design of polymerisation reactors of a variety of types: batch, plug-flow, CSTR, heterogeneous (emulsion, fluidised bed), and predict the mean residence time and size of reactor for simplified cases.
Reading List
1. McCrum, Buckley, Bucknall, "Principles of Polymer Engineering", Oxford Science, 2nd edition 1997 (Recommended reading)
2. Osswald and Menges, "Materials Science of Polymers for Engineers", Hanser, 2nd edition 2003 (Recommended reading)
3. Powell & Jan Ingen Housz, "Engineering with Polymers", Stanley Thornes, 2nd edition 1998 (Recommended reading)
4. Fried, "Polymer Science and Technology", Prentice-Hall, 2nd edition 2003 (Background reading)
5. Birley Haworth, Batchelor, "Physics of Plastics: Processing, Properties and Materials Engineering", Hanser, 1992 (Recommended reading)
6. Ebewele, "Polymer Science and Technology", CRC Press, 2000 (Background reading)
7. Painter & Coleman, "Fundamentals of Polymer Science", Technomic, 2nd edition 1997 (Recommended reading)
8. Ehrenstein, "Polymeric Materials", Hanser, 2001 (Recommended reading)
9. Rudin, "The Elements of Polymer Science and Engineering", Academic Press, 2nd edition, 1998 (Recommended reading)
10. Billmeyer, "Textbook of Polymer Science", Wiley, 3rd edition, 1984 (Recommended reading)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsPolymer Science,Reactors,Properties,Rheology,Polymer processing
Course organiserDr Cher Hon Lau
Tel: (0131 6)50 7813
Course secretaryMrs Shona Barnet
Tel: (0131 6)51 7715
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