Polymer Chemistry and Its Scope | Department of Chemistry

Polymer Chemistry and Its Scope

How do changing demands in society lead to polymer invention? How are monomers bonded in nature to form our body’s building blocks? How do scientists mimic nature in labs? How does the several-fold change in molecular weight from monomer to polymer result in different sets of properties? Most of the polymeric materials around us are synthesized in different ways, depending upon end usage. This course will help the students to understand the need and importance of polymers in today’s world. Interesting chemical aspects of synthesis of polymeric architectures from small molecules will be explored.

Course Outline:

1. Introduction to Polymers

Nomenclature, Classification, Molecular weight, Physical state, Applications

2. Step Growth Polymerization

Polyamide, Polyesters, Polycarbonates, Phenolic polymers, Epoxy resins, Polyethers, Polyurea, Polyurethanes, Carother’s equation

3. Chain Growth Polymerization

Free Radical polymerization: Initiators, Inhibitors and retarders, Mechanism, Kinetics and Thermodynamics, Polymerization processes (Bulk, Solution, Suspension, Emulsion), Copolymers

Ionic polymerization

Cationic and Anionic Polymerization: Mechanism, Ring Opening Polymerization (ROP)

Controlled/Living polymerizations: ATRP (Atom Transfer Radical Polymerization), RAFT (Reversible Addition Fragmentation Chain Transfer), GTP (Group Transfer Polymerization), Ziegler Natta Polymerization, Metathesis

4. Specialty Polymers

Conducting Polymers, Liquid Crystal Polymers, Organometallic Polymers, Green Polymers and their applications

5. Polymer Characterization (Molecular weight determination)

Number average molar mass, End group assay, Colligative Properties of Solutions, Osmometry, Light scattering (Dynamic Light Scattering), Viscometry, Gel Permeation Chromatography, MALDI (Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization)

6. Polymers in Life

Proteins: Synthesis of amino acids and their reactions, Test reactions, Zwitter ion, Isoelectric point and Electrophoresis. Overview of Primary, Secondary, Tertiary and Quaternary Structure of proteins. Determination of Primary structure of Peptides by N-terminal and C–terminal analysis. Synthesis of peptides by N-protection & C-activating groups, Merrifield solid-phase synthesis.

Nucleic acids: Nucleosides and Nucleotides, ATP (energy storage and release), Mechanism of Phosphoryl Transfer Reactions, Composition of nucleic acids. Different types of DNA and RNA, Biosynthesis of DNA, m-RNA and proteins, Determining base sequence of DNA, Lab synthesis of DNA fragments, Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR).


  1. Principles of Polymerization, George Odian, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 3rd Ed., 1991.
  2. Introduction to Polymer Science and Chemistry: A Problem Solving Approach, Manas Chandra, CRC press, Taylor & Francis, 1st Ed., 2006.
  3. Malcolm P. Stevens, Polymer Chemistry: An Introduction, 3rd Edition, Oxford University Press
  4. Polymer Characterization: Physical techniques, D. Campbell and J. R. White, Chapman and Hall. London- New York.
  5. Organic Chemistry, Paula Yurkanis Bruice, Pearson, 3rd Ed., 2011.
  6. Biology, N. A. Campbell, and J. B. Reece, 8th Ed., Pearson Benjamin Cummings, San Francisco.
  7. Biochemistry, J. M. Berg, J. L. Tymoczko, and L. Stryer, W. H. Freeman & Co Ltd, 6th Ed., 2002.
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