School of Science

Polymer materials

This course is part of the programme:
Materials Science

Objectives and competences

Students get to know the special nature of polymers in correlation to materials – they understand the meaning of their macromolecular structure compared to low molecular weight compounds. They learn about the physico-chemical structures and properties of polymers and their relation to applications. They learn basic chemical synthesis methods for the preparation of polymers. They get an insight into basic polymer characterization methods. They learn about the basic types of polymers and their applications.

They learn about the nature and use of polymer composites. They gain understanding on basic polymer processing techniques and their use.

They learn about similarities and distinctions between artificial and natural polymers, sustainability aspects of polymers and plastics and methods for managing plastic waste.


Finished introductory university level chemistry and physics courses including laboratory practice.

Content (Syllabus outline)

1. Introduction and definition of polymers

2. Polymerization and chemical nature of polymers

3. Properties of polymers: morphology, molar mass distribution, thermal properties, physical properties

4. Basic classification of polymer materials; properties and applications

5. Characterization of polymers

6. Processing and application technologies

7. Polymer composites

8. Artificial vs. natural polymers

9. Sustainability and polymers; waste management

Intended learning outcomes

  • Understanding of the meaning of the expression polymer in comparison to low

    molecular weight compounds.

  • Understanding of the physico-chemical properties of polymers in comparison to

    low molecular weight compounds.

  • Basic knowledge on polymer synthesis.

  • Knowledge of basic spolymer types, their properties and applications.

  • Knowledge of basic polymer characterization methods.

  • Knowledge on basic polymer and plastics processing techniques and their uses.

  • Understanding the nature of polymer composites.

  • Understanding the relation between artificial and natural polymers.

  • Understanding sustainability aspects of polymers and plastics and basic

    understanding of plastic waste management.

  • Readings

    • H-G. Elias, “An Introduction to Plastics”, VCH Publishers., 1993
    • Yu. Grosberg, A. R. Khoklov, “Giant Molecules”, Academic Press, 1997.
    • Azapagic, A. Emsley, I. Hamerton, “Polymers, the Environment and Sustainable

    Development” Wiley, 2003.

    • J. A. Brydson, “Plastics Materials” Buterworths, 1989.
    • J. Brandrup, M. Bittner, W. Michali, G. Menges, “Recycling and Recovery of Plastics”,

    Hanser Publishers, 1995

    • Novejši pregledni članki/Up-to-date review articles


    Seminar work (20%), Participation in laboratory work (20%), Witten/oral exam (60%)

    Lecturer's references

    Doc. dr. Andrej Kržan:

    Assistant Professor for Environment protection at the University of Nova Gorica

    Selected publications:

    1. KLUN, Urša, FRIEDRICH, Jožica, KRŽAN, Andrej. Polyamide-6 fibre degradation by a lignolytic fungus. Polym. degrad. stab., 2003, vol. 79, no. 1, p. 99-104.

    2. ŽAGAR, Ema, KRŽAN, Andrej, ADAMUS, Grazyna, KOWALCZUK, Marek. Sequence distribution in microbial poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate) co-polyesters determined by NMR and MS. Biomacromolecules, 2006, vol. 7, no. 7, p. 2210-2216.

    3. KRŽAN, Andrej, HEMJINDA, Sarunya, MIERTUS, Stanislav, CORTI, Andrea, CHIELLINI, Emo. Standardization and certification in the area of environmentally degradable plastics. Polym. degrad. stab., 2006, vol. 91, no. 12, p. 2819-2833.

    4. KRŽAN, Andrej, ŽAGAR, Ema. Microwave driven wood liquefaction with glycols. Bioresour. technol., 2009, no. 12, vol. 100, p. 3143-3146.

    5. KRŽAN, Andrej. Highly oxidized polymers as an extreme of (bio)degradable polymers. J. mol. struct., Theochem., 2009, vol. 902, no. 1/3, p. 49-53.

    6. PALATINUS, Andreja, KRŽAN, Andrej, FORTE, Janez, PETERLIN, Monika. Odpadki v morju in prva ocena prisotnosti mikrodelcev plastike v slovenskem morju. Gospodarjenje z okoljem, 2012, vol. 21, no. 82, p. 2-8.

    7. REMŠKAR, Maja, ISKRA, Ivan, JELENC, Janez, ŠKAPIN, Srečo D., VIŠIĆ, Bojana, VARLEC, Ana, KRŽAN, Andrej. A novel structure of polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) stabilized by MoS[sub]2 nanotubes. Soft matter, 2013, vol. 9, no. 36, p. 8647-8653.

    8. PERDIH, Peter, KRŽAN, Andrej, ŽAGAR, Ema. Synthesis of dendronized poly(L-glutamate) via azide-alkyne click chemistry. Materials, 2016, vol. 9, no. 4 p,. 1-15

    9. KOLLER, Martin, DIAS, Miguel Miranda de Sousa, RODRÍGUEZ-CONTRERAS, Alejandra, KUNAVER, Matjaž, ŽAGAR, Ema, KRŽAN, Andrej, BRAUNEGG, Gerhart. Liquefied wood as inexpensive precursor-feedstock for bio-mediated incorporation of®-3-hydroxyvalerate into polyhydroxyalkanoates. Materials, 2015, vol. 8, no. 9, p. 6543-6557.

    University course code: 2ZMA14

    Year of study: 2

    Semester: 1

    Course principal:


    ECTS: 6


    • Lectures: 20 hours
    • Exercises: 10 hours
    • Seminar: 5 hours
    • Individual work: 120 hours

    Course type: elective

    Languages: slovenian / english

    Learning and teaching methods:
    lectures, lab work (synthesis, properties, characterization), seminar work, field visit in industry