3.063 | Spring 2007 | Undergraduate

Polymer Physics


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session


There is no required textbook for this course. A suggested reference is:

Young, R. J., and P. A. Lovell. Introduction to Polymers. 2nd ed. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2000. ISBN: 9780748757404.


Students must complete and hand in five problem sets during the term.

Students are also required to write a substantial essay on an area concerning the structure, processing, and physical properties of polymers. A two page detailed outline is due on Lec #13 and the paper is due seven days after Lec #23.


There will be two in-class exams.


Five problem sets 20%
Two exams 50%
Essay - outline 5%
Essay - final 15%
Attendance and participation 10%


1 Introduction; hard vs. soft solids; polymerization

2 Chains; thermodynamics of polymer solutions

3 Thermodynamics (cont.): Mean field; Flory Huggins and lattice theory; entropy and enthalpy of mixing; phase diagrams

4 Polymer blends; viscosity; osmometry Problem set 1 due
5 Osmometry (cont.); SEC (size exclusion chromatography) and GPC (gel permeation chromatography)

6 Scattering; Zimm plots

7 Glass transition temperature Tg

8 Diffusion of polymers; reptation; elasticity Problem set 2 due
9 Gels; Flory-Rehner theory

10 Self organization

Exam I

11 Intermaterial dividing surface (IMDS); polymer-based photonics

12 Photonic crystals

13 Influence of chain architecture on microdomain characteristics

14 Block copolymer-homopolymer blends

15 Hierarchically ordered BCP-nanoparticle composites

16 Top down meets bottom up Problem set 3 due
17 Chain folding; polyethylene and nylon; spherulites

18 Mechanical properties; crazing; microframes and millitrusses

Exam II Problem set 4 due
19 Mechanical properties (cont.)

20 Single wall and multi-wall nanotubes (SWNT, MWNT)

21 Electronic polymers

22 Polymer conductives; polypyrrole chains; optical interactions Problem set 5 due
23 Wrap-up and review Project report due

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2007
Learning Resource Types
Problem Sets
Lecture Notes
Written Assignments with Examples