Module code: CHE3052

Module Overview

The purpose of this module is to provide an overview of advanced polymer chemistry with a focus on polymers that are used in more advanced technologies.

Module provider


Module Leader

VARCOE John (Chemistry)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 119

Lecture Hours: 30

Tutorial Hours: 1

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

  • Revision of basic polymer concepts.

  • Advanced polymer characterisation (GPC, light scattering, rheology, MALDI, Raman).

  • Heterogeneous polymerisations: Suspension, emulsion, and mini-/micro-emulsion polymerisations.

  • Copolymerisation: reactivity ratios and structural aspects.

  • Living polymerisation: anionic polymerisation and synthesis of diblock copolymers.

  • Controlled radical polymerisation: NMP, ATRP, RAFT.

  • Radical ring opening polymerisation: biodegradable polymers.

  • Metal mediated polymerisation methods: Ziegler-Natta and metallocenic polymerisation catalysts, ROMP and ADMET.

  • Inorganic Polymers: e.g. polysiloxanes, polysilanes, polyphosphazenes.

  • Polymer composites: integration of inorganic and organic materials.

  • Advanced polymer applications.

  • Polymer additives and blends.

  • Graft Copolymers: Chemical grafting including Click Chemistry and radiation-grafting.

  • Basic polymer phase behaviour: LCST.

  • Liquid crystal polymers: synthesis of Vectra.

  • Self-assembly in polymerisation.

  • Conjugated polymers: polypyrrole and polyacetylene.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework COURSEWORK 30
Examination EXAMINATION (1.5 HOURS) 70

Alternative Assessment

Not available

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate new knowledge related to the chemistry, synthesis, characterisation, and application of advanced polymers. The examination will involve the application of some of this knowledge to unknown examples. The coursework will involve a detailed literature search effort by the students to report on aspects of polymer science that have not been covered in the lectures.


Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • Exam: 70%, 1.5 h (addresses learning outcomes 1, 2, 3, 4).

  • Coursework: 30%, maximum of 4,500 words (addresses learning outcomes 1, 3).


Formative assessment

Practice problem sheets will be given out at regular intervals and parts of the course will be revisited where requried (i.e. if the practice problems reveal areas of lower student understanding).



The students will be given feedback on the items from the practice problem sheets that indicate a lower level of understanding. Feedback from the coursework element will be in three strands: (1) The most interesting polymer science reported in the submissions will be communicated to all students; (2) A summary of the more successful literature search strategies will be given to all students; (3) Feedback will be given individually to students and will include comments on the structure and content of the report.


Module aims

  • This module aims to extend the fundamental aspects of polymer chemistry to more advanced concepts.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
1 Demonstrate an in-depth understanding of advanced concepts in polymer chemistry K
2 Apply an appropriate protocol to synthesise a target polymeric material KC
3 Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of macromolecular property-relationships K
4 Critically evaluate an appropriate polymeric material for a target application KC

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to develop knowledge of polymers for more advanced technologies. The polymer lecture notes for the FHEQ Level-5 module CHE2028 (Chemistry and Technology of Modern Materials) will be provided on SurreyLearn for background reading. The first 2 h or lectures of this module will revise the key points from CHE2028. The delivery is mainly lecture-based with practice problems given out at key points for formative assessment.


The learning and teaching methods include:

  • 3 h of lectures per week for 10 weeks;

  • 1 h of revision class covering some practice problems;

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: CHE3052

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2020/1 academic year.