The Elements of Polymer Science and Engineering + Solutions
This introductory text is intended as the basis for a two- or threesemester course in synthetic macromolecules. It can also serve as a selfinstruction guide for engineers and scientists without formal training in the subject who find themselves working with polymers. For this reason, the material covered begins with basic concepts and proceeds to current practice, where appropriate.
Space does not permit any attempt to be comprehensive in a volume of reasonable size. I have tried, instead, to focus on those elements of polymer science and technology that are somewhat different from the lines of thought in regular chemistry and chemical engineering and in which a student may need some initial help. Few of the ideas dealt with in this text are difficult, but some involve a mental changing of gears to accommodate the differences between polymers and micromolecules. If this text serves its purpose, it will prepare the reader to learn further from more specialized books and from the research and technological literature.
An active, developing technology flourishes in synthetic polymers because of the great commercial importance of these materials. This technology teaches much that is of value in understanding the basic science and engineering of macromolecules, and all the examples in this text are taken from industrial practice.
Chapter 1 is a general introduction aimed at giving the reader an appreciation for the language, applications, and versatility of synthetic polymers.
Polymer molecular weight distributions and averages seem to me to be little understood, even though there is nothing particularly difficult in the topic. This may be because many textbooks present the basic equations for Mn, Mw, and so on with no explanation of their origin or significance. It is regrettable that much good effort is defeated because a worker has an incorrect or imperfect understanding of the meaning and limitations of the molecular weight information at his disposal. Chapter 2 focuses on the fundamentals of molecular weight statistics and the measurement of molecular weight averages. Chapter 3 is a description of the most important experimental techniques in this area. It will be of more use to a reader who is actively engaged in such experimentation than to a beginning student, and some instructors may wish to treat the material in this chapter very lightly.
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