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Applied Polymer Science

Course Type
Postgraduate, Module

Module overview

Many aspects of processing dental materials at the chairside and in the dental laboratory involve polymerization reactions, from manufacture of denture bases, photopolymerization of resin restorative materials, to taking impressions of hard and soft tissue. The aim of this module is to apply basic polymer science principles to advance knowledge in a variety of polymer-based systems and related processing technologies, including:

  • Configuration, conformation, tacticity
  • Molecular weight effects (entanglement, diffusion, viscosity)
  • Glass transition
  • Free-radical polymerization; initiation, cold cure, heat cure, inhibitionCrazes and cracking
  • Chemical variants; plasticizers, cross-linking, hydrophilicity
  • Filled resin polymerization; role of the filler, rules of mixtures
  • Setting properties; gel, rubber, glass
  • Photocatalytic initiation; non-steady state propagation, termination
  • Design of curing light source
  • Depth of cure, oxygen-affected layer
  • Flexible impression materials



The module will be assessed by:

1) A summative laboratory report (40%), which provides the students with the requisite skills in lab work, data analysis and report writing for subsequent modules and building on formative feedback from the previous module: The groups will be provided with a choice of several prescribed project areas and will be required to develop a protocol (with formative feedback). The experimental protocol, and write-up Introduction, Methods, Results and Discussion, Conclusions).

*In case of online delivery only, students will perform ‘thought’ experiments based on the theory learned. We will provide appropriate raw data sets so students will still be able to analyse, interpret and discuss data. The assessment will comprise of a protocol (20%) and a report based on the data provided (20%) – Total 40%

2) MCQ class quiz (20%)
*Rather than having an MCQ as part of the final exam, this can be sat in class as a canvas quiz. If this cannot be sat in class, then a time window will be allowed online.

3) a 2-hour examination (40%)
*If closed book exams are not possible, the exam will be an open book, (48hr to start, 2hr to complete once started), choosing 4 out of 6 short answer questions