Polymeric Materials: Commodity Plastics, Engineering Resins and Specialty Polymers


Course Number: PLSM.6670 - 001.SU24

Tuition: $2,000

  • June 17-20
    PLSM.6670 - 001.SU24
    Professor Stephen Burke Driscoll
  • Registration for this seminar has closed.
  • August 12-15
    Professor Stephen Burke Driscoll
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This program provides an overview of the many different families of commercially available polymeric materials. It also examines the basic concepts of polymerization through structure/property relationships and post-reactor modification, value-added compounding, important thermomechanical properties, design considerations, fundamentals of the various processing schemes, and material selection criteria for commercial end-uses. Individual polymers such as commodity plastics, engineering resins and specialty polymers will be contrasted for end-use functional properties and processability. More than 15 major families will be discussed for commercial applicability, competitive positioning and marketplace opportunities. The commercially popular members of each polymeric family will be examined for basic chemistry, polymerization challenges, key functional properties, design considerations, processing options and pricing histories as well as end-use markets.


The major resin families will be contrasted for individual members, with emphasis on application-specific properties, and how additive technology is used to enhanced commercial acceptability.

Introductory comments will focus on composition, chain structure, polymer architecture (molecular weight, distribution, and branching), polymerization details, and marketing characteristics.

The chemical nature of plastics will be examined for crystallinity vs. amorphous and aliphatic vs. aromatic behavior.

Structure-property relationships, including thermal transitions, blending & alloying, crystallinity and morphology will be reviewed with respect to processability and end-use behavior.

Specific Families to Be Reviewed Include:

Polyolefins, vinyls, styrenics, polyamides (nylons) and acetals, acrylics, polycarbonates, polysulfones, polyphenylene ethers, polyether imides, polyarylates, polyesters, fluoropolymers, polyimides, polyphenylene sulfides, polyketones and liquid crystal polymers (LCPs).

Competitive advantages will be stressed and inherent limitations will be discussed for economic alternatives. Representative examples of commercial products will be continuously contrasted in order to position each material against other commercial candidates.

In addition to lectures, there will be scheduled demonstration of representative commercial processing technologies, advanced testing and polymer characterization techniques.