CHEM 770/7700 - Principles of Polymer Science

Semester: Fall 2023

Professor: J. Duhamel | Discipline: Polymer | Campus: Waterloo


  1. Basic definitions: Monomers, polymers, polymerization reactions. Polymer structure, nomenclature. Molecular weight distributions and average molecular weights.
  2. Chain conformations: End-to-end distance, radius of gyration, molecular dimensions, excluded volume.
  3. Molecular weight measurements: Colligative properties, osmometry, light scattering, viscosity, gel permeation chromatography.
  4. Step-growth polymerization. Types of reactions. Reactivity, kinetics. Molecular weight distribution and control, branching and cross-linking. Polymerization equilibria. Preparation of polyesters, polycarbonates, polyamides.
  5. Radical chain polymerization. Types of polymerization reactions (bulk, solution, heterogeneous). Polymerization kinetics and energetics, molecular weight distribution. “Living” radical polymerization reactions. Preparation of polystyrene and vinyl polymers.
  6. Mechanical properties. Modulus and glass transition temperature, structure-property correlations. Viscoelasticity, stress relaxation, dynamic mechanical properties, mechanical models.
  7. (If time allows) Thermodynamics of polymer solutions and mixtures (blends). Flory-Huggins theory and solubility parameters. Phase separation in block copolymers and polymer blends. Polymer self-assembly.


Principles of Polymerization (3rd Edition) by G. Odian (Wiley: NY, 1991; QD281.P603 1991), Polymers: Chemistry and Physics of Modern Materials (2nd Edition) by J. M. G. Cowie (Blackie Academic: Glasgow, 1991; QD381.C68x 1991), Elements of Polymer Science and Engineering by A. Rudin (Academic Press: San Diego, 1999; QD381.R8 1999).


Quizzes (20%), one in class 1 hr 20 mid-term exam (20% or 0%) at 10:00 am on Thursday October 18th, 2022, a 20-page report on a polymer topic related to the course (20%), and a 21/2-hour final exam (40% or 60%).




  • Tue: 10:00 am - 11:20 am in EIT 2053
  • Thu: 10:00 am - 11:20 am in EIT 2053

Office Hours

Room: C2-163; Tel: 35916; E-mail: jduhame[email protected] Office hours: Tuesdays 1:00 – 2:00