Recommended ACS syllabus for introductory courses in polymer

extent, by departments of chemistry, these courses have been offered in departments of chemical engineering, material engineering, material science, a...
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Recommended ACS Syllabus for Introductory Courses in Polymer Chemistry Raymond B. Seymour Department of Polymer Science, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS 39401

While polymer chemistry is one of the three advanced courses in chemistry recommended by the American Chemical Society, some professors are uncertain as to what subject matter should be offered in a one-semester senior course. In an attempt to supply information that could be helpful to those teaching introductory courses in polymer chemistry, Dr. L. G. Donaruma, chairman of the education committee of the oolvmer a svllahus . " chemistrv oriented divisions.. aooointed .. committee to provide appropriate information on this course. Since polymer chemistry has been disregarded, to some extent, by departments of chemistry, these courses have been offered in departments of chemical engineering, material engineering, material science, and oolvmer science and engineering. ~ h u sthere , is much diveise background on course content. In addition, members of the syllabus committee were from both industry and universities and expressed many different views on the introductory course. Some favored a full-year course, while others favored a one-semester or one- or two-quarter term courses. This dilemma was solved by selecting seven major and seven minor topics for the course and assigning each a percentage of c o m e time. Thii syllabus provides both a core of material found in most introductorv texts and ootional materials to meet the neeas of non-chemistry majors, such as chemical engineers and premedical students. The available textbooks which may be used with the syllahus are included with the syllabus. It should he noted that the topics listed in the syllabus are also related to those considered in the development of the ACS standardized examination in polymer chemistry and those listed in the 127 replies from 97 schools to a questionnaire sent out for the education committee by Professors C. E. Carraher and


Journal of Chemical Education

R. D. Deanin. These results are listed in Table 1.The syllabus is shown in Table 2. The members of the syllabus committee believe that students taking courses hased on the education committee's Table 1. Results of Questlonnalrein Descending Preference Topics


Measwement of Molecular Weigh and Size Polymer Structure and Physical Properties Step-Reaction (Condensation) Polymerization Radical Chain (Addition) Polymerization Molecular Forces and Chemical Bonding in Polymers Capolymeriration Morphoiogy and Order in Crystalline Polymers Polymer Solutions Rheoloav and Mechanical Pmoerties of P o i m s ionic a 2 Coordination Chain i~ddition)Polymerization Polymerization Conditions and Polymer Reactions Analysis and Testing of Polymers Commercial Polymers: Hydrocarbon Plastics and E i a s t m r s Other Carbon-Chain Polymers Thermosening Resins Hetermhain Thermoplastics Biopolymers Plastics Technolcgy Fiber Technology Coatings Elastomer Technology Processing Additives Adhesives, Applications, Stabllity. Toxicity. Environment, Flammability, Polymer Reactions, and Reagents History of Polymer Chemistry

104 104 100 100 89 86 86 85 85 83 61 51


POimS based on a


+. 0. -rating by 127 replies ham 97 schools.




Table 2. Syllabus for Course In Introductory Polymer Chernlsiry Maiw Tmics*

Percent of Course Time

1. Macromolecules: An Introduction 2. Molecular Weights Average Molecular Weight Fractionationof Polydisperse Systems Characterization Techniques 3. Step Reaction Polymerizations Kinetics Polymers Produced by Step Polymerizations 4. Chain Reaction Polymerization Kinetics of Ionic Chain Reaction Polymerization Kinetics of Free Radical Chain Reaction Polymerization Polymers Praduced by Chain Reaction Polymerization 5. Copolymerization Kinetics Types of Copolymers Polymer Blends Principal Copolymers 6. Morphology Stereochemistry of Polymers Molecular Interactions Crystallinity 7. Testing and Characterization of Polymers Structure-Property Relationships Physical Tests Instrumental Characterizations Additional Topics 8. Flow iropenies Viscoelasticity Rubber Elasticity 9. Solubility 10. Natural and Biomedical Polymers 11. Additives Fillers Plasticirers Stabilizers Flame Retardants Colorants 12. Reactions of Polymers 13. Synlhesis of Polymer Reactants 14. Polymer Technology Plastics Elastomers Fibers Coatings Adhesives The time allotted for some oflheadditional tapics may be shortened, w same of the tapics may be omined in onequarter counes. Diher topics and literature assianments should be considered for two-semester courses.

'The wder of presentatton may be changed 4 me lnswxta. Syllabus Cornminee: R. B. Seymwr. (Chsiiman).Warren Fwd, Charles Gebaleln, Harry Gibson, Frank Harris, Stan Israel, and Angelo Volpe.

syllabus will be well prepared to do the following:

Table 3. Textbooks and Audio Courses for Introductory Courses In Polvmer Chemlstrv F. W. Bilimeyer. "Texmoak for Polymer Science," Wiley-lntwscience. New Yak, NY. 1971. J. W. Ccwie. ''Polymer-Chemi* and Physics at Madm Materials." Intext. New Yak.. NY.. 1974. H. S. - Kaufman and J. J. Falcena. "lnboduction to Polvmer Science and Technology: An SPE Textbook." John Wlley and Sans. New Yark. NY. 1977. G S. Klrshenoa~m. Polymer S c h c e S l q GAe.' W o n and Breach. New York. NY, 1973. G. Odian. "Principles of Polymerization," Mffiraw-Hill. New York. NY, 1970 F. Rcdriquez, "Principles of Polymer Systems," McGraw-Hill. New York. NY. 1970. R. 8. Seymour andC. E. Camher. "Polymer Chemistry." MarceiDekker. New York, NY. 1981. M. S. Stevens. "Polymer Chemistry," Addiston-Wesley. New York, NY. 1975. H. R. Allcock and F. W. Lampe, "Contemporary Polymer Chemislry." Prentiw-Hall, Englewood CIifR, N.J.. 1981. Audio Comes R. B. Seymour. "Introduction to Polymer Science and Technology," American Chemical Society. Washington. DC. 1981. W. L. Hawkins, "Polymer Stabilization," American Chemical Society, Wash-. lngton. DC. 1880. G. W'mn, "Polymer Synthesis." American Chemical Society, Washington, DC. 1976. A. Volpe, "lnlroduction to Polymer Chemistry." Plastics Institute of America. Hoboken. NJ, 1980. T. Wallace. "Molecular Characterization of Polymers." American Chemical Society, Washington, DC, 1981. VideDMmouter Course S S Smh, H W G~bronm 2 M Pochan. "hbodun M to Po ymer Cnnn~stry." Amerocan Chemrcal Saclety. Waohmgton. DC, 1980 ~~



(3) M a k e a positive contribution when employed as a polymer

chemist. Some of the available textbooks and audio courses for introductory polymer chemistry are listed in Table :$. There are. of course, other texthooks of merit. The first was written by Dr. ~ o w e r s i nthe 19407s,but it is primarily of historical value today. The pioneer modern textbook in this field was "Principles of Polymer Chemistry" which was written by Nobel laureate Paul Flory in the early 1950's. Another excellent textbook was "The Organic Chemistry of Synthetic High Polymers" written by professor R. W. Lenz in 1967. Both the Flory's and Lenz's texts are excellent, but they may be too advanced for use in introductory courses. When one recognizes that over 50 percent of all chemists are employed in some phase of polymer science, there is obviously a need for sound introductory courses and corresponding textbooks. Hopefully, professors who plan to teach an introdudow course in oolvmer cbemistw and authon who plan to write tkxtbooks dill 'be guided by the ACS syllabus. The term svllabus is derived from the Latin "sillvbas" meaning a str& of parchment or label. This definitioncould be modernized to include a strin of ooaaue olastic. Hooefullv. the polymer syllabus and the references may be used to teaih students not only about strips of plastic but also about fibers, elastomers, coatings, and adhesives. .

(1) Score well on the ACS standardized examination on polymer

chemistry. (2) Be able to read past and current polymer chemistry literature.



Number 8



August 1982