Introduction : Definitions, origin, nomenclature, classification of macromolecules; molecular weight (MW) and its distribution; thermal transitions; thermodynamics of polymerization.
Step Polymerization : Reactivity of functional groups; kinetics; molecular weight in open and closed system – Carother’s equation; stoichiometric control of MW; cyclization vs. linear polymerization, cross-linking and gel point; process condition; step-copolymerization, examples of step polymers.
Radical Chain Polymerization : Nature of chain polymerization and its comparison with step polymerization; radical vs. ionic polymerizations; structural arrangements of monomer units; kinetics of chain polymerization; molecular weight and its distribution; chain transfer, inhibition, retardation, auto-acceleration; energetic characteristics; techniques of radical polymerization – bulk, solution, emulsion, suspension polymerization; examples of polymers made by radical chain polymerization.
Living radical polymerization : Theory; nitroxide-mediated polymerization (NMP); atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP); radical addition-fragmentation transfer (RAFT); others.
Ionic chain polymerization : Comparison of radical and ionic polymerizations; cationic polymerizations – kinetics, mechanism; anionic polymerization – kinetics, mechanism; living anionic polymerization; examples.
Chain co-polymerization : General considerations; types of copolymers, copolymer compositions, reactivity ratio; radical and ionic copolymerizations; examples.
Stereoregular polymerization : Origin and types of stereoisomerism in polymers; factors influencing stereoregulation; properties of stereoregular polymers; stereospecific ionic polymerizations; coordination polymerization; Ziegler-Natta polymerization, metallocene polymerization; examples
Other polymerization processes : Ring opening polymerization; group transfer polymerization; metathesis polymerization, etc.
Polymers in solution : Thermodynamics of polymer solutions; Flory-Huggins theory, theta conditions; solubility parameters; fractionation of macromolecules
Chain dimensions : Freely joined chain; effect of geometric and volume restrictions; frictional properties of macromolecules in dilute solution.
Characterization of macromolecules : Determination of molecular weight – methods for measuring number average, weight average, viscosity average MW; gel permeation chromatography; spectroscopic techniques to determine chemical composition and molecular microstructure.
Reaction of macromolecules : Reactions with polyolefins, polyenes, pendant groups; polymer degradation – thermal degradation, degradation by catalyst residues, degradation by end groups; mechanism of stabilization – antioxidants and heat stabilizers, catalyst quenchers, end-capping;
Polymer properties and supermolecular structure : Properties of solid polymers, amorphous and crystalline phases of polymers, structure-property relationship.
Special topics/ Newer topics : Naturally occurring polymers, biodegradable, biosynthesis, polymers from bio/renewable resources.
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