Polymers: concepts, properties, uses and sustainability

By Prof. Abhijit P Deshpande   |   IIT Madras
Learners enrolled: 288
Polymers in solar cells, rubbers in soft robot, polymer composite in ISRO launch vehicle –these are some examples of cutting edge applications of polymeric materials. On the other hand, we see other examples of polymeric materials such as plastics and fiber reinforced plastics (FRP) all around us. What is so special about polymers, and why/how can they be used in such diverse applications? This course will introduce basic concepts related to polymeric materials; engineering estimations about their properties; various applications;and their impact on sustainability.

Students, practitioners and researchers who want to learn basics of polymers
PREREQUISITES First year courses in Maths, Physics and Chemistry, and Engineering Thermodynamics
INDUSTRIES  SUPPORT     : Plastics processors, FMCG companies,Automotive companies, Biotech firms
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

Course layout

Week 1: What are polymers? What are their unique features?
Why are polymers so common?
Polymers: Molecular structure
Process, structure, property
Molecular weight and distribution
Macromolecular nature

Week 2: Simple concepts related to single macromolecule
Renewable sources for polymers
Polymerization / depolymerization
States of interest
Application based terms
Reuse and repurpose
Molecular conformations
Size, mobility and flexibility

Week 3: Molecular arrangements and states of polymers
Structures in biopolymers
Amorphous / crystalline states
Kinetics of crystallization
Glass transition

Week 4: Polymeric systems of different kind
States in environment
Liquid crystalline polymers

Week 5: Blends, copolymers and composites
Microstructure in polymers
Stress strain response
Additives for polymeric systems
Blends / composites in recycling
Physical / chemical crosslinking
Mechanical properties

Week 6: Physico-chemical, mechanical and electrical properties of polymers
Physical and chemical aging
Solutions: properties
Conducting polymers
Dielectric response
Properties of composites

Week 7: Viscoelasticity in polymers
Viscoelasticity: introduction
Thermal response
Viscoelasticity: characterization
Viscoelasticity – simple models
Dynamic mechanical analysis
Damping Applications
Time Temperature superposition
Impact and energy absorption

Week 8: Viscoelasticity in polymers / Interaction of polymers with other materials
Testing for applications
Properties of blends
Biomimetic polymers
Advanced mechanics
Viscoelastic response: examples
Polymer packaging
Porous polymers / membranes
Polymer at interfaces
Diffusion in polymers

Week 9: Interaction of polymers with other materials / Polymers processing and recycling
Biopolymer applications
Adhesives and Paints
Dissolution and recovery
Polymerization kinetics
Polymerization reactors
Polymer processing

Week 10: Polymers processing and recycling techniques
Flow simulations
Processing for recycling
Recycle, up-down cycling
Flow behaviour - rheology
Conversion of polymers

Week 11: Polymers processing and recycling techniques
Rheology and entanglement
Rheological models
Rheology and processing
Absorption and leaching
Swelling of polymers
Viscosity for polymer processing

Week 12: Polymeric materials in nature
Microplastics, aerosols, sediments
Biodegradation of polymers
Biodegradable polymers

Books and references

Polymer Science and Technology, JR Fried,Prentice Hall, 2014
Materials Science of Polymers for Engineers,TA Osswald and G Menges, Hanser, 2012
Introduction to Polymers, RJ Young and PALovell, 2011

Instructor bio

Prof. Abhijit P Deshpande

IIT Madras
Abhijit P. Deshpande is a Professor of Chemical Engineering at IIT Madras. His research focus is on polymeric systems, more specifically their aggregation and gelation behaviour. In his group, polymeric materials such as hydrogels and membranes are being investigated for applications in electrical, electromehcanical and electrochemical devices. His teaching interests include specialized courses in polymers, fluid mechanics, rheology and continuum mechanics; and core chemical engineering courses such as mass transfer and thermodynamics

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 Madras .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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