Introduction to polymers. Step polymerization. Chain polymerization. Kinetic and probabilistic aspects. Polymerization Technologies. Polydispersity. Averages of Molecular weights. Number and weight distributions. Vinyl polymers. Tacticity. Average dimensions of a disordered polymer chain. Gaussian Chain. Semiflexible chain. Pesistence length. Equivalent chain and Kuhn length. Radius of gyration. Thermodynamics of polymer solutions. Flory-Huggins Theory. Theta conditions. Fractionation methods. Fractional precipitation. Gel Permeation Chromatography (thermodynamic aspects). Polymeric solutions in dilute regime. Colligative properties: Osmotic pressure. Virial coefficient. Viscosity. Mechanical properties of macromolecules and introduction to the theory of elasticity.
The course aims to provide students with the basic notions of macromolecular chemistry, dealing with the analysis of polymer properties with the tools of thermodynamics, statistics and chemical kinetics. In addition to the introduction to the main mechanisms of synthesis and properties of polymeric materials, the problem of the average conformation of a macromolecule, of the stability of polymer solutions, of the theory of elasticity will be discussed in particular. In accordance with the interdisciplinary character of the Course of Studies in Material Sciences, the contents of the course are conveyed with a chemical-physical approach. The teaching material, provided in English, intends to introduce students gradually to the language of the international scientific community. The laboratory activities, focused on methods of characterization and synthesis of polymers, have, among other things, the purpose of contributing to the student's operational autonomy, according to what is foreseen among the educational objectives of the Degree Course.
KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING:
At the end of the course the student must has to be aware of the main issues involving the chemistry and physics of macromolecules. The memorization of a few basic notion is required, including the chemical characteristics identifying the most important classes of polymers and the type of their synthesis, and the understanding and rationalization of the fundamental properties in the mass and solution phases.