Module Overview

Surface & Polymer Chemistry

The module will introduce students to the principles of physical chemistry that govern the properties of materials and interfacial chemistry. In particular, surface chemistry phenomena, such as adsorption and interfacial behaviour of liquids, will be explored. The module includes surface instrumentation and characterisation techniques, and strategies employed in promoting and diagnosing different absorption regimes at solid surfaces. The module will introduce students to polymer chemistry, and covers polymer structure, polymer structure-property relationships, polymer synthesis, polymerisation mechanisms, and the application of common polymeric materials.

Module Code

CHEM 3020

ECTS Credits


*Curricular information is subject to change

Surface Chemistry

Surface phenomena, adsorption, adsorption regimes and diagnosis. Spreading of liquids. Surface tension, interfacial tension. Medicinal, industrial and domestic applications of surfactants. Micelles. Concept of chemical equilibrium. Surface instrumentation and characterisation techniques


Polymer Chemistry

Introduction to raw materials. Classification of polymers. Intermolecular forces. Crystalline and amorphous region and effect on physical and mechanical properties. Average molecular weight, polydispersity index (PDI). Determination of molecular weight using viscosity, light scattering, gel permeation chromatography. Polymerisation mechanism - Step Growth and Addition Polymerisation. Bulk solution, suspension and emulsion polymerisation. Stereospecific polymerisation. Properties and application of polymers (e.g. polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene, polyvinyl chloride). Polymer processing and manufacture. Conducting polymers and their applications. Polymeric materials for drug delivery systems and medical devices. Introduction to polymers for 3-D printing.

The module is delivered through lectures (20 h), tutorials (4 h), and laboratory sessions (15 h).

A selection of relevant laboratory practicals, pertaining to the theory, will be run by the students.

Module Content & Assessment
Assessment Breakdown %
Formal Examination60
Other Assessment(s)40