MTE4572 - Polymer and composite processing and engineering - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit

Department of Materials Science and Engineering


Professor Wayne Cook

Unit guides



  • First semester 2017 (Day)


This unit deals with the structure, processing and properties of polymers and shows how these aspects determine their use in particular applications. The rheology of polymers are discussed and the factors controlling viscosity are described and related to polymer processing. The thermodynamics of polymer blends and the resulting morphology is related to the mechanical properties. The wide range of polymer additives is reviewed. For composite materials, the types of matrices and fibres/fillers are described as well as composite fabrication and the effect of reinforcement on properties. Designing with polymers and materials selection for properties and applications is studied in detail.


At the successful completion of this unit you will be able to:

  1. Appraise the various synthetic methods of polymerisation and an analysis of steady shear, tensile and dynamic rheometry and how polymer rheology depends on molecular weight, structure, temperature and deformation rate, and how this determines the processing techniques used.
  2. Assess the factors affecting the stiffness and creep, the strength and toughness, the solvent resistance, electrical properties and the friction/wear of polymers.
  3. Assess the detailed basis behind the selection of polymers and processing methods for specific applications and the properties required for their application.
  4. Analyse a design problem involving polymeric materials, to select the appropriate material(s) and to formulate a solution which includes material fabrication, reliability, quality control and an estimate of cost.
  5. Predict the properties of thermoplastics, thermosets, elastomers and composites, based on their structure.
  6. Demonstrate communication with scientists and industrialists regarding engineering polymers.


Four written assignments: 20%

PBLE work: 20%

Examination (2 hours): 60%

Workload requirements

3 hours lectures/tutorials and 7.5 hours of private study per week and 3 hours of problem based learning classes every two weeks

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)