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Dr M Nair

Polymers are arguably one of the most versatile classes of materials, possessing a broad range of properties that has facilitated its widespread use in our society. Advanced Polymers aims to explore novel polymer-based technologies based on their interfacial, colloidal and electronic properties that allow them to be used in a diverse range of applications. This course is intended to build on and complement the polymer topics covered in Parts IA, IB and II, and is divided into three parts. In the first part, we will introduce models from polymer physics, namely the structural models of single polymer chains (partly revision from previous years) and polymers in solution. In the second part, we consider elements of polymer chemistry, starting with a recap and extension of the factors influencing polymer properties, before moving on to polymer phase diagrams. The final section will consider three properties of polymers (interfacial, colloidal and electronic) which are utilised in novel and emerging technologies. In all three parts, the lecture course will also cover common materials characterisation techniques used experimentally to probe the structure and properties of polymeric systems.

Specifically, the lecture course will cover:
  • Models for single polymer chains
  • Polymers in solution: Flory-Huggins theory and solubility parameters
  • Experimental determination of chain dimensions
  • Factors influencing physical and chemical properties of polymers
  • Phase diagrams: polymer/solvent mixtures, polymer blends, block copolymers
  • Experimental measurement of phase separation
  • Adhesive and Cohesive polymer systems: pressure-sensitive and liquid adhesives, anti-fouling and dispersant coatings
  • Colloidal polymer systems: hydrogels, superplasticisers
  • Electronic properties of polymers: composites, ionic conduction, electronic conduction in conjugated polymers, piezoelectric polymers.