Plastics: Chemistry, Technology and Applications

Course Leader: Dr Milan Kracalik

Home Institution: Johannes Kepler University Linz

Course Overview
This course is offered for those students who want to hear what is true and what not in different media concerning plastics in the world - they are everywhere, touching us - so it is good to know, what is dangerous and what is harmless... Why it is not possible to live without plastics, why the green energy could not be able to work without plastics, what would our life look like without plastics…? The answer to these questions and more (you are invited to bring further questions with you) can you experience in this course!

Learning Outcomes
By the end of this course, students should be able to generate specific information from the plastics industry, using it for assessment of the relation between physics&chemistry and application performance of different plastics. This outcome will be useful in product development dealing with plastic materials.

Course Content

1)         Introduction (What is plastic, Tailor-made Materials)

2)         Economics and Business of Plastics

3)         Plastic Additives (Fillers, Miscibility / Compatibilizers, Stabilizers, Pigments, etc.)

4)         Methods for Plastic Additivation (Lab/Industrial Scale Equipment)

5)         Methods for Structure Characterisation in Plastics (Rheology, Spectroscopy, Microscopy, Mechanical & Thermal Testing)

6)         Physical and Chemical Processes during Plastic Additivation

7)         Physical Phenomena associated with Plastic Additivation and their Impact on Material Properties (e.g. Percolation Treshold vs. Electric Conductivity)

8)         Chemical Phenomena associated with Plastic Additivation and their Impact on Material Properties (e.g. Chain Grafting vs. Compatibility)

9)         Nanotechnology in Plastic Formulations

10)       Plastic Formulations for Outdoor Applications (Weatherability, Accelerated Aging)

11)       Additives for Bio-Plastics (Biodegradable and Bio-based Plastic Materials)

12)       Additives for Recycled Plastics (Physical/Chemical Recycling)

13)       Regulations on Plastics (e.g. REACH, RoHS, FDA)

Instructional Method

-  Lectures

Required Course Materials
Recommended literature:

Erik Lokensgard - Industrial Plastics: Theory and Applications

J.A. Brydson - Plastics Materials

R.J. Crawford - Plastics Engineering

Nigel Mills - Plastics: Microstructure and Engineering Applications


-  Evaluation of teamwork (one power-point presentation for each participant)