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The focus of this course is analysis and characterization of polymers and plastics. Analysis of polymeric systems is essentially a subtopic of the field of chemical analysis of organic materials. Because of this, spectroscopic techniques commonly used by organic chemists are at the heart of Polymer Analysis, e.g. infra-red (IR) spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and to some extent ultra-violet/visible (UV/Vis) spectroscopy. In addition, since most polymeric materials are used in the solid state, traditional characterization techniques aimed at the solid state are often encountered, x-ray diffraction, optical and electron microscopy as well as thermal analysis. Unique to polymeric materials are analytic techniques which focus on viscoelastic properties, specifically, dynamic mechanical testing. Additionally, techniques aimed at determination of colloidal scale structure such as chain structure and molecular weight for high molecular weight materials are somewhat unique to polymeric materials, i.e. gel permeation chromatography, small angle scattering (SAS) and various other techniques for the determination of colloidal scale structure. The textbook, Polymer Characterization covers all of these analytic techniques and can serve as a reference for a general introduction to the analysis of polymeric systems. Due to time constraints we can only cover a small number of analytic techniques important to polymers in this course and these are outlined in the syllabus.
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