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Polymers & Coatings

The focus of the MSI Polymers and Coatings program is to introduce the fundamental concept, processes, preparation and physical characterization of polymers, with emphasis placed on those of commercial interest. Approximately 70% of all chemists work in the polymer industry, so having a background in Polymers can be highly advantageous in today's competitive job market.

Past students in our program have worked on a myriad of projects within their companies including, drug delivery polymers, anti-radiation coatings for NASA, flexible LCD display panels, UV cure coatings, polyurethane patching compounds and many others.

Course Outline

The summer Polymer and Coatings program contains four intensive courses (16 credits) starting in late June and finishing in early September.

Synthesis, Characterization & Processing of Polymers

This course covers methods of polymer synthesis and characterization; kinetics and mechanisms of the principal polymerization reactions. Introduction to mechanical properties and fabrication techniques. Overview of the methods of structural characterization for important morphological classes of polymers. Techniques for predicting the engineering and physical properties of polymers from their molecular structures.

Polymer Synthesis Characterization Lab

The laboratory section of the polymer courses focuses on hands-on synthesis, manipulation, formulation and characterization of polymers. The students spend the first half of the lab course making polymers for learning the characterization tools available at UO and CAMCOR. In the second half of the course, the students use these skills to make polymers with varying physical properties by exploring the effects of plasticizers, additives and dyes on polymer properties. The students also develop a characterization strategy to prove their polymers meet pre-assigned specifications.

Polymers & Coatings Physical Chemistry

This course focuses on polymer engineering and polymer physics with an emphasis on practical applications and recent developments. Topics include polymer synthesis, characterization, mechanical properties, rheology, and processing.

Polymer Processing

In the processing class students will be introduced to the major plastic molding processes. These include extrusion, injection molding, thermoforming, mixing and others. There will be discussion of the internal workings of current process equipment in detail, and the necessary properties that polymers must exhibit for each process. Each student will give a one hour, in-depth presentation on a plastic processing technique for the final.


David R. Tyler, Professor of Chemistry, B.S., Purdue University, 1975. Ph.D., California Institute of Technology, 1979. Research Interests: Inorganic chemistry, organometallic chemistry, and polymer chemistry

Darren W. Johnson, Assistant Professor of Chemistry. B.S., University of Texas, Austin, 1996. Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 2000. Research Interests: Inorganic, Organic, Supramolecular, and Materials Chemistry.

Willie E. "Skip" Rochefort, Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering (Oregon State University) . B.S. University of Massachusetts, 1976. M.S., Northwestern University, 1978. Ph.D., University of California at San Diego, 1986. Research Interests: Polymer Science, biomaterials and polymer processing.

Sundar Atre, Associate Professor Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering (Oregon State University), B.S., Indian Institute of Technology. Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University. Research Interests: Advanced materials and manufacturing techniques for multiscale architectures, with applications in transport, energy, medical, communications and consumer sectors.