Introduction to Polymer Physics-IITR

By Prof. Prateek Kumar Jha   |   IIT Roorkee
Learners enrolled: 84
This course is an introduction to the physics of polymers, designed for senior undergraduate and postgraduate students. We will discuss statistical-mechanical, thermodynamic, and continuum theories for the structure, dynamics, and rheology of polymeric materials. Emphasis will be on developing a conceptual understanding of the theoretical and simulation methods employed in the study of polymers, and their application to specific systems. This course can be of potential interest to students studying in various disciplines including polymer science, chemical engineering, physics, chemistry, and materials science.

INTENDED AUDIENCE:        For undergraduate/postgraduate students in Polymer Science and Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Physics, Materials Science and Engineering, and Chemistry.
PREREQUISITES:     Following courses are desired but not mandatory: Undergraduate courses in computer programming, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics/solid mechanics/continuum mechanics, and engineering mathematics/calculus.
INDUSTRY SUPPORT:  Polymer and plastic Industries.
Course Status : Upcoming
Course Type : Elective
Duration : 12 weeks
Start Date : 26 Jul 2021
End Date : 15 Oct 2021
Exam Date : 24 Oct 2021
Enrollment Ends : 02 Aug 2021
Category :
  • Chemical Engineering
Credit Points : 3
Level : Undergraduate/Postgraduate

Course layout

Week 1 : Macromolecules and Life, Molecular flexibility, Classification of polymers, Types of polymerization, Average molecular weights and polydispersity, Concept of universality
Week 2 : Random walk models in polymer physics: 1-D random walk (drunkard walk), 2-D random walk on a lattice, freely jointed chain, modified freely jointed chain, freely rotating chain
Week 3 : Elastic energy of polymer chain, bead-spring model, ideal polymer chain and finite extension models, radius of gyration, pair correlation function, scattering experiments
Week 4 : Review of programming concepts, Monte Carlo simulations of a polymer chain, Importance Sampling, Metropolis criteria, Practical aspects of Monte Carlo simulation
Week 5 : Excluded volume interaction. Flory theory in good solvent, bad solvent, and theta solvent. Monte Carlo simulations in good solvent and bad solvent regime.
Week 6 : Concentrated polymer solutions. Review of Solution thermodynamics: Mixing and phase separation, osmotic pressure, chemical potential, thermodynamic origin of diffusion.
Week 7 : Lattice model of solutions, Flory-Huggins theory of polymer solutions, Definition of partition function and free energy, binodal and spinodal curve, critical point, extension to polymer blends and melt
Week 8 : Brownian motion, Correlation functions, Time translational invariance and time reversal symmetry, Brownian motion of a free particle, Einstein relation
Week 9 : Brownian motion in a potential field, Introduction to Molecular Dynamics and Brownian Dynamics
Week 10 : Rouse model of polymer chain, normalized coordinates and basis functions, Rouse modes, problems with Rouse model
Week 11 : Review of continuum mechanics: equations of motion, stress tensor, deformation tensor, deformation gradient tensor, constitutive relations of solids, liquids, and rubber. Microscopic definition of stress tensor.
Week 12 : Experimental rheology: rheometers, linear viscoelasticity, superposition principle, relaxation modulus, storage modulus, loss modulus.

Books and references

1. M. Doi, Introduction to Polymer Physics, Oxford University Press , 1996 
2. M. Doi, Soft Matter Physics, Oxford University Press, 2013 
3. M. Doi and S. F. Edwards, The Theory of Polymer Dynamics, Clarendon Press, Oxford University Press, 1988 
4. Pierre-Gilles de Gennes, Scaling concepts in Polymer Physics, Cornell University Press, 1979 
5. R. G. Larson, Structure and Rheology of Complex Fluids, Oxford University Press, 1998 
6. M. Rubinstein and R. H. Colby, Polymer Physics, Oxford University Press, 2003 
7. I. Teraoka, Polymer Solutions: An Introduction to Physical Properties, Wiley Interscience, 2002
8. F. H. Morrison, Understanding Rheology, Oxford University Press, 2001
9. D. Frenkel and B. Smit, Understanding Molecular Simulations: from algorithm to applications, 2nd Ed, Elsevier, 2001 (available on subscription in ScienceDirect: 

Instructor bio

Prof. Prateek Kumar Jha

IIT Roorkee
Dr. Prateek Jha is an associate professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering, IIT Roorkee, India. His research interests are in the areas of molecular simulations, drug delivery, polymer physics, and theoretical nanoscience. He has earned his PhD from Northwestern University, followed by a postdoctoral stint at University of Michigan-Ann Arbor on a collaborative project with The Dow Chemical Company. He has won several awards including institute research fellowship of IIT Roorkee awarded to outstanding young faculty, DST young scientist award, DST-INSPIRE award, and distinguished researcher award for his PhD work at Northwestern University. He was a finalist for Frank J. Padden Jr. Award for excellence in polymer physics research of the American Physical Society in 2012. He has earned his undergraduate and master’s degree from NIT Warangal (India) and IIT Bombay (India), respectively.

Course certificate

The course is free to enroll and learn from. But if you want a certificate, you have to register and write the proctored exam conducted by us in person at any of the designated exam centres.
The exam is optional for a fee of Rs 1000/- (Rupees one thousand only).
Date and Time of Exams: 24 October 2021 Morning session 9am to 12 noon; Afternoon Session 2pm to 5pm.
Registration url: Announcements will be made when the registration form is open for registrations.
The online registration form has to be filled and the certification exam fee needs to be paid. More details will be made available when the exam registration form is published. If there are any changes, it will be mentioned then.
Please check the form for more details on the cities where the exams will be held, the conditions you agree to when you fill the form etc.


Average assignment score = 25% of average of best 8 assignments out of the total 12 assignments given in the course.
Exam score = 75% of the proctored certification exam score out of 100
Final score = Average assignment score + Exam score

YOU WILL BE ELIGIBLE FOR A CERTIFICATE ONLY IF AVERAGE ASSIGNMENT SCORE >=10/25 AND EXAM SCORE >= 30/75. If one of the 2 criteria is not met, you will not get the certificate even if the Final score >= 40/100.

Certificate will have your name, photograph and the score in the final exam with the breakup.It will have the logos of NPTEL and IIT Roorkee .It will be e-verifiable at nptel.ac.in/noc.

Only the e-certificate will be made available. Hard copies will not be dispatched.

Once again, thanks for your interest in our online courses and certification. Happy learning.

- NPTEL team

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