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2017 Spring
Chemistry 595 – Physical Chemistry of Polymers


Alexei Sokolov
Buehler 563


Location:      Bu 412
Time:            9:40 A.M. – 10:55 A.M.
Days:            T, TH
Office hours: Tuesday, 4pm-6pm, Bu-563

Disability Statement

If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a documented disability, please promptly contact the Office of Disability Services at 2227 Dunford Hall (telephone/TTY 865-974-6087; e-mail  This will ensure that you are properly registered for services.

Required Text

P. C. Hiemenz & T.P. Lodge, “Polymer Chemistry”, 2nd Edition, CRC Press, 2007

Supplementary reading

M. Doi, “Introduction to Polymer Physics”, Oxford Science, 1995.
L.H. Sperling, “Introduction to Physical Polymer Science”, Wiley-Interscience, 2006.
M. Rubinstein and R. H. Colby, “Polymer Physics”. Oxford University Press, 2003.

Lecture Notes

Lecture notes will be placed on the website before each lecture. Students are strongly encourage to have print outs of the notes before each lecture.

Course Coverage

  1. Molecular Weights of Polymers: Distributions, averages, and methods of determination. (Chapters 1, 8 & 9)
  2. Structure of Polymer Chain: Introduction to chain conformation, configurations, isomerism and stereochemistry. (Chapters 1, 5)
  3. Conformation of Polymer Chain, Chain Statistics: Various models of chain, Gaussian chain. (Chapters 6)
  4. Polymer Solutions and Blends: Thermodynamics, phase separation, mechanisms, kinetics. (Chapter 7)
  5. Crystalline State of Polymers: Crystallization and kinetics, crystalline structures, experimental methods. (Chapter 13)
  6. Polymer Viscoelasticity: Stress relaxation, mechanical models of polymer behavior, time-temperature superposition, perhaps rheology. (Chapter 11)
  7. Relaxation and Transitions in Polymers: Polymer relaxation mechanisms, the glass transition, and experimental methods. (Chapter 12)
  8. Rubber Elasticity: Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics of polymer elasticity. (Chapter 10)
  9. Modern Topics in Polymer Science


Homework                              10%  (Homework will be assigned and graded periodically)
Mid-term exam                       30% (tentative – end of February, 2017)
Final exam                             30% (May 2, 2017)
Course Project                       30%

A note about the Course Project:  Choose a topic concerning the Physical Chemistry of Polymers which interests you. You may discuss the topic with me or ask my advice. Once you select the topic, go to literature and learn about the current state of knowledge in that topic. Write a ~7-10 pages paper describing what did you learn, formulating the major challenges and important problems in this topic. You will also present a ~15 minutes talk on the material during the last weeks of classes. Your grade for the Course Project will depend on both, written paper and oral presentation. I will be glad to schedule practice sessions (outside the class time) to help you with the talk and would be glad to read a draft of your paper if you will give me enough time before the due date.

Course Materials

Coming soon!