Polymer Science and Technology Diploma, MSc, PG certificate

Entry requirements:
2:2 +
Full-time:
1 year
Part-time:
2-5 years
Start date:
October 2018
UK/EU fees:
£9,500
International fees:
£21,000
Location:
Loughborough
Study area:
Materials

Achievements

3rd

for Materials and Minerals Engineering

Guardian University Guide 2018

Overview

Our Polymer Science and Technology MSc / Diploma / Certificate is designed to give you a broad understanding of polymer science and technology with a focus on the underlying properties of polymers in relation to their utilisation in industrial applications.

Polymer science and technology is a fast moving field that has a major impact on the way we live. It allows us to develop ever more sophisticated materials to suit the needs of society and the planet.

Taught by a team of international experts, the Polymer Science and Technology programme covers the latest science and technology of plastics, rubbers and composites including aspects of nanotechnology and biomaterials. Lectures are supplemented by an extensive variety of laboratory exercises, spanning chemical and physical characterisation, and compounding and processing technology experiments on pilot-scale laboratory equipment.

Our Polymer Science and Technology (PST) programme has gained an international reputation as one of the most comprehensive and in-depth programmes specializing in this subject area. The lecture content will be taught by leading researches and industrial experts, whilst state-of-the-art processing and analytical equipment, including those within our new polymer processing laboratory (recently refurbished in a £4M development) and the world-leading Loughborough Materials Characterisation Centre, will be available for laboratory classes and major projects.

Our Polymer Science and Technology programme has been designed to meet the requirements of industry and allow progression towards professional chartered status. It is fully accredited by the Institute of Materials Minerals and Mining. (IOM3).

What makes this programme different?

  • One of the most comprehensive courses of its kind
  • Taught by international experts
  • Fully accredited by IOM3

Who should study this programme?

Our Polymer Science and Technology MSc programme is suitable for those of you who are looking to gain an in-depth understanding of polymer science and technology.

An honours degree (2:2 or above) or equivalent overseas qualification in a science or engineering subject.

All applicants for admission to Loughborough University must have a qualification in English Language before they can be admitted to any course or programme, whether their first language is English or not.

IELTS: 6.5 with a minimum score of 6.0 in all elements.

What you'll study

The MSc comprises a combination of semester-long and one week modules for full-time students, whilst part-time students study a mix of one week and distance-learning modules. MSc students undertake a major project many of which are sponsored by our industrial partners. Part-time student projects are often specified in conjunction with their sponsoring company and undertaken at their place of work.

Modules

All modules are 15 credits. The MSc project is 60 credits.

The MSc degree comprises of 180 credits; six core modules and two optional modules, plus the MSc project.

The PG Diploma comprises of 120 credits; six core and two optional modules.

The PG Certificate comprises of 60 credits which is achieved by completing four core modules.

Key

SL = Semester-long

OW = One week

DL = Distance-learning

Please note: not all modules are available on all awards.

Full-time modules

This module addresses the fundamentals of polymer science and so lays the foundations for other modules. It focusses on critical polymer characteristics that control processing behaviour, mechanical, thermal and physical properties. The topics include:

  • The way in which functional groups, chain branching and molecular weight affect transition temperatures and crystallisation behaviour
  • Solubility theory and its critical importance to the fluid resistance of many polymer products and to the related phenomenon of plasticization
  • Measurement of the molecular weight of plastics and crosslink density of rubbers
  • How molecular orientation can be introduced into plastics to improve properties and the ways in which it is measured.

This module provides an excellent opportunity for students to acquire knowledge and practical skills in polymer processing which are highly valued by employers involved with modern design and manufacturing techniques.

Fundamental knowledge of polymer melt flow behaviour is included, and then the module develops to include in-depth provision of theoretical and practical aspects of major polymer processing methods, which concludes with aspects of ‘research-led’ teaching in subjects such as laser sintering and nanocomposites.

Computer aided design (CAD) is taught to provide students with state-of-art product design skills and in addition, injection moulding process simulation (Autodesk Moldflow) is included, to apply CAD skills to plastics component and process design.

However, the outstanding element of the module is the Group Project activity in the superbly-equipped Polymer Process Laboratories. These projects span across two Semesters, giving ample scope to investigate polymer materials (plastics, rubbers, composites) on industrial-scale manufacturing equipment (injection moulding; extrusion etc.) whilst enhancing team-working skills.

This module provides a broad and deep understanding of polymers, polymeric compounds and composites that are used in industry, enabling students to select appropriate polymeric materials for given applications based on a knowledge of properties and costs. Topics covered include:

  • Thermoplastics: commodities, engineering polymers, transparent polymers, high temperature and speciality polymers, bio-derived and bio-degradable polymers
  • Thermosets: epoxy resins, phenolics, amino resins
  • Polyurethane and other iso-cyanate-based plastics: foams, adhesives, coatings, medical devices
  • Composite materials and structures: surface chemistry of fibres and fillers; predicting mechanical properties of composites
The aims of this module are to introduce the principles underlying the properties of polymers in relation to their utilisation in industrial applications. On completion of this module students should have knowledge and understanding of:
  • the mechanical behaviour of viscoelastic solids;
  • principles of fracture mechanics and measurement of fracture toughness;
  • ductile and brittle failure modes and implications for product design;
  • fracture mechanics and principles of fatigue for the prediction of failure in service;
  • dynamic mechanical spectra and the relationship to molecular structure;
  • effects of polymer structure and additives on polymer properties;
  • Dielectric Thermal Analysis and analogy to Dynamic Mechanical Spectra;
  • dielectric strengths and electrical failures, effects of fillers and relationship to molecular and microscopic structure;
  • semi-conductive and non-linear behaviour.

This is a key course in polymer science and technology which includes two parts: polymerisation and polymer blends. It provides both a chemical and a physical basis for the understanding of polymerisation, and thermodynamics and applications of polymer blends.

Topics studied include: kinetics and mechanisms of free radical, ionic and condensation polymerisation; phase diagrams for mixtures of oligomers, small molecule/polymer and polymer/polymer combinations; thermodynamic transitions in polymer blends; nanocomposites and rubber toughening polymers.

Students learn how to apply basic principles of polymer-polymer miscibility and phase separation to predict properties and design new products, analyse and evaluate data from the literature, apply knowledge of polymerisation to polymer properties and consider which polymerisations are possible, and which impossible, and design new polymeric materials.

This module provides a detailed introduction to the basic theory and use of thermal analysis, spectroscopy, scattering and microscopy techniques used to characterise polymers at both the molecular level and in the bulk state. Techniques studied include: differential scanning calorimetry, modulated-temperature differential scanning calorimetry, dynamical thermal analysis, thermo-gravimetric analysis, ultraviolet spectroscopy, infra-red and Raman spectroscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, wide-angle x-ray diffraction and small angle-x-ray scattering and optical microscopy. After studying this module, students are able to select an appropriate characterisation technique for analytical problems, identify appropriate experimental methods and conditions, and apply theoretical knowledge to analyse experimental results in research projects and other investigations.

The MSc project enables students to apply what they have learnt in the taught modules to address real research questions. A wide selection of projects are available, put forward by members of staff covering their areas of research expertise, together with projects proposed by industry. The projects aim to address real-life problems, important to industry or the environment, or may be at a more fundamental scientific level, investigating novel materials and techniques. Students are supported by their academic supervisor, an experienced technical team and often by research staff and PhD students working on similar projects. A wide range of advanced characterisation, testing and processing equipment is available for use in the projects. The project module includes a literature review, a presentation, 8 to 10 weeks of experimental work and a written report.

Optional modules

This module covers the principles of materials science underlying the development of innovative materials to be used in medicine, pharmaceuticals and the food industry. Recent scientific advances in the following classes of biomaterials are discussed:

  • Macromolecules derived from natural resources, such as polysaccharides and proteins
  • Nanocomposites inspired by the remarkable properties of biological systems, such as bone, nacre and seashells
  • Synthetic polymers characterised by biocompatibility and biodegradability.

Case studies are used to highlight the current opportunities and challenges of using biomaterials to produce artificial organs, implants for hard and soft tissue replacement, and drug delivery systems.

This module provides an in-depth understanding of the relationship between structure, properties and application of some commercially important rubbers with some elements of rubber processing and chemistry of sulphur vulcanisation included in the course.

This module will provide the student with a knowledge of the fundamental principles of adhesion and to be able to understand how methods of joining materials together with adhesives can be made to maximise bond strength and bond longevity. Elements of modelling and testing of bonded structures will be introduced along with a summary of techniques available for failure analysis. Case studies will be presented indicating the range of industrial applications of adhesively-bonded structures.

Part-time modules

This module addresses the fundamentals of polymer science and so lays the foundations for other modules. It focusses on critical polymer characteristics that control processing behaviour, mechanical, thermal and physical properties. The topics include:

  • The way in which functional groups, chain branching and molecular weight affect transition temperatures and crystallisation behaviour
  • Solubility theory and its critical importance to the fluid resistance of many polymer products and to the related phenomenon of plasticization
  • Measurement of the molecular weight of plastics and crosslink density of rubbers
  • How molecular orientation can be introduced into plastics to improve properties and the ways in which it is measured.
The aims of this module are to introduce the principles underlying the properties of polymers in relation to their utilisation in industrial applications. On completion of this module students should have knowledge and understanding of:
  • the mechanical behaviour of viscoelastic solids;
  • principles of fracture mechanics and measurement of fracture toughness;
  • ductile and brittle failure modes and implications for product design;
  • fracture mechanics and principles of fatigue for the prediction of failure in service;
  • dynamic mechanical spectra and the relationship to molecular structure;
  • effects of polymer structure and additives on polymer properties;
  • Dielectric Thermal Analysis and analogy to Dynamic Mechanical Spectra;
  • dielectric strengths and electrical failures, effects of fillers and relationship to molecular and microscopic structure;
  • semi-conductive and non-linear behaviour.

This module provides a broad and deep understanding of polymers, polymeric compounds and composites that are used in industry, enabling students to select appropriate polymeric materials for given applications based on a knowledge of properties and costs. Topics covered include:

  • Thermoplastics: commodities, engineering polymers, transparent polymers, high temperature and speciality polymers, bio-derived and bio-degradable polymers
  • Thermosets: epoxy resins, phenolics, amino resins
  • Polyurethane and other iso-cyanate-based plastics: foams, adhesives, coatings, medical devices
  • Composite materials and structures: surface chemistry of fibres and fillers; predicting mechanical properties of composites

This module provides a detailed introduction to the basic theory and use of thermal analysis, spectroscopy, scattering and microscopy techniques used to characterise polymers at both the molecular level and in the bulk state. Techniques studied include:  differential scanning calorimetry, modulated-temperature differential scanning calorimetry, dynamical thermal analysis, thermo-gravimetric analysis, ultraviolet spectroscopy, infra-red and Raman spectroscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, wide-angle x-ray diffraction and small angle-x-ray scattering and optical microscopy. After studying this module, students are able to select an appropriate characterisation technique for analytical problems, identify appropriate experimental methods and conditions, and apply theoretical knowledge to analyse experimental results in research projects and other investigations.

The aims of this module are to provide a broad knowledge of the principles and operating procedures of polymer conversion and powder mixing processes; provide in-depth knowledge and skills in some specific aspects of polymer processing methods, both theoretically, and in practice; and develop practical skills related to a selection of manufacturing processes for polymer products.

This is a key course in polymer science and technology which includes two parts: polymerisation and polymer blends. It provides both a chemical and a physical basis for the understanding of polymerisation, and thermodynamics and applications of polymer blends.

Topics studied include: kinetics and mechanisms of free radical, ionic and condensation polymerisation; phase diagrams for mixtures of oligomers, small molecule/polymer and polymer/polymer combinations; thermodynamic transitions in polymer blends; nanocomposites and rubber toughening polymers.

Students learn how to apply basic principles of polymer-polymer miscibility and phase separation to predict properties and design new products, analyse and evaluate data from the literature, apply knowledge of polymerisation to polymer properties and consider which polymerisations are possible, and which impossible, and design new polymeric materials.

The aim of the project is to develop the skills required to perform research tasks involving the application of scientific and engineering principles in areas related to the composition, manufacture and performance of materials and related products.

Optional modules

This module covers the principles of materials science underlying the development of innovative materials to be used in medicine, pharmaceuticals and the food industry. Recent scientific advances in the following classes of biomaterials are discussed:

  • Macromolecules derived from natural resources, such as polysaccharides and proteins;
  • Nanocomposites inspired by the remarkable properties of biological systems, such as bone, nacre and seashells;
  • Synthetic polymers characterised by biocompatibility and biodegradability.

Case studies are used to highlight the current opportunities and challenges of using biomaterials to produce artificial organs, implants for hard and soft tissue replacement, and drug delivery systems.

This module provides an in-depth understanding of the relationship between structure, properties and application of some commercially important rubbers with some elements of rubber processing and chemistry of sulphur vulcanisation included in the course.

This module will provide the student with a knowledge of the fundamental principles of adhesion and to be able to understand how methods of joining materials together with adhesives can be made to maximise bond strength and bond longevity. Elements of modelling and testing of bonded structures will be introduced along with a summary of techniques available for failure analysis. Case studies will be presented indicating the range of industrial applications of adhesively-bonded structures.

How you will be assessed

The full–time PST course will run throughout the 2018/19 Academic Year with a combination of compulsory and optional modules available to all students and all will carry out a major project. Each student will take eight modules, each worth 15 credits, with the major project carrying 60 credits. The modules will be lecture and tutorial based and with most modules incorporating laboratory classes. A part-time option is available which typically takes 2-5 years to complete and for which a number of bespoke Distance Learning versions of the Full-time modules are available.

How you'll study

Lectures
Seminars
Tutorials
Independent study
Group work
Supervision
Practical sessions
Workshops

Your personal and professional development

The Department of Materials is committed to helping you develop the skills and attributes you need to progress successfully in your chosen career.

Future career prospects

Typical careers span many industrial sectors including plastics, rubber, chemical and additives industries as well as packaging. Possible roles include technical and project management, R&D, technical support to manufacturing as well as sales and marketing.

Many of our best master’s degree students continue their studies with us, joining our thriving community of PhD students engaged in materials projects of real-world significance.

Graduate destinations

Recent graduate employment destinations include:

  • Asahi Kasei Plastics – Singapore, Technical Support Engineer
  • Beijing Savi Bio-Technology Co Ltd – China, Research & Development
  • Infane Enterprise, Strategist
  • Lateral Solutions Pte Ltd, Project Engineer
  • Memjet Pte Ltd, Product Engineer
  • Sumitomo Chemical Singapore, Engineer

Your personal development

On successful completion of this programme students should be able to:

  • organise and manage time and resources effectively
  • apply a critical approach to problem solving in areas related to their field of studies
  • exercise independent learning skills for the gathering of information and acquire new knowledge for work/subject related activities, as well as for professional development
  • work effectively both independently and in a group
  • demonstrate an adequate level of cognitive and numerical skills for theoretical analysis of new principles
  • make effective use of electronic databases to obtain background information for a research project.

Fees and funding

UK/EU:
£9,500
International:
£21,000

Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, IT equipment and other support services. University fees and charges can be paid in advance and there are several methods of payment, including online payments and payment by instalment. Special arrangements are made for payments by part-time students.

Our students

Antonio Caporali

MSc Polymer Science and Technology student

Our lecturers are very competent in their field and they are also very nice and friendly, always ready to help you in case of necessity.

Explore