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Recent Updates to the Polymer Science Learning Center

The Polymer Science Learning Center began life with NSF funding in the early to mid '90's. That generous support allowed development of the Macrogalleria, an online resource with hundreds of pages of information on polymers. Following the original effort, additional funding allowed development of the Kid's Macrogalleria, a similar resource for the K-12 community. Take a look at the extensive offerings at t view this material.

Despite loss of funding (and staff to implement new material), the site was maintained in its original form for a decade. Recently, premature retirement (a disease with drastic side-effects) allowed updating and expansion of the site. New 3-dimensional polymer structures were added, new material on individual polymers included, and totally new segments developed to expand the scope and content.

Major recent developments at the Polymer Science Learning Center website ( include new offerings and Macrogalleria updates. The new offerings are linked from the home page or you can go directly there at: to find links to the spectral data and tested polymer syntheses.

The spectral data include both solution and solid state spectra (carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen plus others) of mostly polymers along with some monomers and small molecules. We’re currently just posting the images of spectra (gif or jpg format) but if anyone needs a Spectracalc or Grams raw data file, we have some of those. We would very much welcome additional spectra of polymers so if you have data for commercial polymers especially, please send them to me at FTIR, uv and whatever else you have are welcome.

The other exciting development involves revival of the Macromolecular Syntheses series that was started by my PhD advisor, Charles Overberger, back in the ‘70’s. I’ve posted the entire Collective Volume I set of procedures with newly generated chemical structures. Unfortunately, the figures of apparatus are photocopies since I no longer have a graphic artist to help re-do those. These methods include syntheses of many commercial polymers (most provided by industrial scientists who actually developed the methods way back when). In addition are dozens and dozens methods of academic polymers and non-commercial industrial polymers. Take a look at the first 150 or so- they provide detailed procedures that have been tested and verified plus they provide insight into the historical evolution of polymer science. These are great adjuncts to any polymer course.

Having these new resources available at our site (methods plus spectra) allows linking polymers described in the Macrogalleria (levels 2, 3 and 4) with characterization and actual syntheses. So far I’ve linked nylons, PET and some acrylates- take a look at them in the Macrogalleria and see what you think. Suggestions are welcome.

Last is a new set of online courses in polymers that will be available at I’ve almost finished the introductory courses (top link in the left-hand column) so see what you think and let me know. I’m working on basic and advanced polymer synthesis courses. They’re going a lot slower because there’s so much more to include. Subject polymers are also linked to their corresponding sections in the Macrogalleria. The goal is to have a more integrated body of material that will help scientists, students and the general public learn as much as they want about the fascinating field of polymer science. Again, suggestions are welcome.

Now a request for help: I don’t have copies of Macromolecular Syntheses Collective Volume 2 or the individual volumes that were included. I also don’t have single volumes numbers 6, 7, 9 and 11. If any of you have any of these and would be willing to let me borrow them for a month or so, I’ll include the procedures in them on the website. Or you could photocopy the figures and send them to me for inclusion (have to be better than what I’ve done which isn’t very good- don’t have those key secretarial skills I once counted on with staff).

Thanks, and keep educating on polymers.

Lon J Mathias, Professor

University of Southern Mississippi

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