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Polymer Chemistry: Experimental Methods

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  • There is a wide range of methods available for testing and characterizing polymers.

    • Polymer Chemistry: Polymer Density
      Polymer samples usually are irregular in shape, making it difficult to measure their volume directly. There are four routine methods for determining the density of a polymer55. In the PCOL polymer project we will use one of these methods, called pycnometry. The density can be used to calculate the percent of a polymer that is crystalline.
    • Polymer Chemistry: Tensile Testing
      In a tensile test, a sample of known dimensions (including thickness) is held between two clamps. As the sample is stretched, the force exerted by the instrument and the length (and sometimes cross-sectional area) of the sample are measured.
    • Polymer Chemistry - Differential Scanning Calorimetry
      A differential scanning calorimeter (DSC) measures the amount of energy (heat) absorbed or released by a sample as it is heated, cooled, or held at a constant temperature56. DSC has become the method of choice for quantitative studies of thermal transitions in polymers.

    Contributors and Attributions

    • David Whisnant (Wofford College). Partial support for this work was provided by the National Science Foundation's Division of Undergraduate Education through grants DUE #9950809 and DUE #9950296. Additional support was provided by the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation.