Polymers and the Environment

NAME OF THE COURSE Polymers and the Environment



Year of study


Course teacher

Prof Branka Andričić

Credits (ECTS)


Associate teachers

Type of instruction (number of hours)






Status of the course


Percentage of application of e-learning

0 %


Course objectives

Rational view of the influence of polymeric materials on the environment and vice versa.

Course enrolment requirements and entry competences required for the course

Enrolled in or passed the cours Exercises in Polymers and the Environment

Learning outcomes expected at the level of the course (4 to 10 learning outcomes)

- distinguish commodity plastics and their application
- recognition of the structure and properties of polymers
- knowledge of the signs on plastic packaging and their meaning
- recognition of possible impact of polymerization processes on the environment
- recognition of environmental impact on polymers
- distinguish biodegradable poloymers
- perception of importance of plastic waste management toward lowering environmental pollution

Course content broken down in detail by weekly class schedule (syllabus)

1st week: Historical overview and world consumption of polymeric materials. Basic terms principles of polymer chemistry.
2nd week: Molecular and supermolecular structure of polymers. Physical and phase states. Thermomechanical curve. Classification of polymers (thermoplastic, elastomeric and thermosetting).
3rd week: Commodity polymers (PE, PP, PVC, PS, PET) and their properties and application. Symbols on the plastics packaging and their importance.
4th week: Polymers and the environment, global and local importance.
Environmental impact during production and processing oh polymers. Air emissions.
5th week: Waste waters, hazardous materials, other waste. Emission prevention and control in polymerization processes (PVC and PE polymerization)..
6th week: Process improvement by implementation of ”green” chemistry. Polymers and energy consumption.
7th week: First test.
8th week: Environmental impact on polymers (insolation, temperature, moisture, oxygen, atmospheric pollutants). Degradation mechanisms in polymers.
9th week: Thermal degradation. Oxidative degradation. Atmospheric pollutants. Ageing of polymer in the environmental and laboratory conditions.
10th week: Flammability and burning of polymers. Burning mechanisms. Burning test methods. Toxic emission from plastics burning.
11th week: Polymers in marine environment. Biodegradable polymers from renewable resources and petrochemicals (PHB, PLLA) production, properties and application.
12th week: Biodegradable water soluble polymers (PEO, PVA), properties and application. Improvement of polymers (bio)degradability by modification. Standard biodegradability tests.
13th week: Plastic and rubber waste management system.
14th week: Recycling and regeneration of plastic and rubber.
15th week: Second test.

Format of instruction:

Student responsibilities

Attendance on lectures at least 80 %.

Screening student work (name the proportion of ECTS credits for eachactivity so that the total number of ECTS credits is equal to the ECTS value of the course):

Class attendance




Practical training


Experimental work








Seminar essay






Oral exam




Written exam






Grading and evaluating student work in class and at the final exam

The complete exam can be passed through two tests during semester. The passing score is 60 % and the fraction of each test is 50%. Correction of the one test can be performed in the first term of exam period. In the exam period the student has to attend to written and oral exam (passing score is 60%). Written exam is 35% and oral exam is 35%.
Grades: successful (60% – 70%), good (71% – 80%), very good (81% – 90%), excellent (91% – 100%).

Required literature (available in the library and via other media)


Number of copies in the library

Availability via other media

A. L. Andrady, Plastics and the Environment, John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New Jersey, 2003.;


J. D. Hamilton and R. Sutclife, Ecological Assessment of Polymers, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 1997


Optional literature (at the time of submission of study programme proposal)

A. Azapagic, A. Emsley, I. Hamerton, Polymers, the Environment and Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester, 2003.; W. Tötsch and H. Gaensslen, Polyvinylchloride-Environmental Aspects of a Common Plastics, Elsevier Science Publishers Ltd, Barking, 1992.; članci iz znanstvenih i stručnih časopisa.

Quality assurance methods that ensure the acquisition of exit competences

Quality of the teaching and learning, monitored at the level of the (1) teachers, accepting suggestions of students and colleagues, and (2) faculty, conducting surveys of students on teaching quality.

Other (as the proposer wishes to add)