Basics of Polymer Structure and Characterization


Sponsored by the Golden Gate Polymer Forum and
Presented by Professors Shaw Ling Hsu, Alan J. Lesser and E. Bryan Coughlin

Michaels at Shoreline

2960 N Shoreline Blvd
Mountain View, CA 94043
(650) 962-1014
Get directions


Announcing a three-day course taught by 3 faculty members of the Polymer Science and Engineering Department from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. This course covers important polymer basics as well as more advanced topics. All topics are presented in a practical manner designed for those with some technical background or education. Attendees can expect to learn about polymer synthesis and characterization, engineering design and performance of polymer materials. The course will look at polymers from basic principles, opportunities and applications, and issues associated with performance. Attendees will gain a better understanding of synthetic techniques, polymer structure-performance relationships and mechanical testing methodologies.

The combination of three excellent teachers from a world-class institution, a convenient location in the Bay Area, an affordable price, and focus on practical applications makes this an exceptional opportunity.



Day 1:       June 25, 2012 Polymer Fundamentals

7:30 – 8:30 AM

Registration and Continental Breakfast; Attendees must wear their GGPF badges all three days.


8:30 – 10:00 AM Introduction to polymer chemistry (Coughlin)

Classification of polymers; Reaction mechanisms

10:00 – 10:30 AM Break

10:30 – 12:00 PM Determination of polymer structure (Hsu)

Structure determination (configuration, conformation & packing)

12:00 – 1:00 PM Lunch


1:00 – 2:30 PM Engineering basics (Lesser)

Overview of linear and nonlinear properties

2:30 – 3:00 PM Break

3:30 – 5:00 PM Design of new polymers (Coughlin)

Polyesters, polyamides, PU, polyolefins, acrylics, PS, fluoropolymers & copolymers


5:00 – 6:00 PM Chance to discuss specific issues with instructors – refreshments included



Day 2:

June 26, 2012 Advanced Polymer Concepts

7:30 – 8:30 AM

Continental Breakfast; Attendees must wear their GGPF badges.


8:30 – 10:00 AM Physical properties (Hsu)

Characteristics of crystalline, glassy & rubbery polymers

10:00 – 10:30 AM Break

10:30 – 12:00 PM Engineering performance (Lesser)

Yield, strain localization & fracture (rate & T effects)

12:00 – 1:00 PM Lunch


1:00 – 2:30 PM Advanced polymer architecture (Coughlin)

Controlled/living polymerization

2:30 – 3:00 PM Break

3:30 – 5:00 PM Phase behavior of multi-component polymers (Hsu)

Beyond χ; Advantages of blends & copolymers


5:00 – 6:00 PM Chance to discuss specific issues with instructors – refreshments included



Day 3:       June 27, 2012 Special Topics

7:30 – 8:30 AM

Registration and Continental Breakfast; Attendees must wear their GGPF badges.


8:30 – 10:00 AM Designing engineering materials (Lesser)

Impact modifications, composites, aging, environmental effects

10:00 – 10:30 AM Break

10:30 – 12:00 PM Research topic I (Coughlin)

“New polymer materials to address future energy challenges”

12:00 – 1:00 PM Lunch


1:00 – 2:15 PM Research topic II (Hsu)

“Analysis of structural instability in multi-component polymer systems”

2:15 – 3:30 PM Research topic III (Lesser)

“Aging and fracture, how much do we really understand”

3:30 – 5:00 PM Final Question/Answer Session Panel Discussion – refreshments included.

5:00 PM Adjourn and leave badge holders behind



Shaw Ling Hsu, Ph.D. is a Professor in the Polymer Science and Engineering Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Dr. Hsu has extensive experience with polymer structural characterization with his research focused on polymers in biomedical applications, coatings and adhesives. He is an expert in spectroscopic techniques that can be utilized to characterize polymer microstructures and their changes as a function of time, temperature and external forces. Theory and experiments are being carried out in his laboratories to characterize the phase equilibria of various reactive multi-component polymer systems. Dr. Hsu has the capability of measuring polymer structural transformations (e.g. amorphous to crystalline) with high spatial and temporal resolution that provide molecular interpretations of relevant macroscopic physical properties. Dr. Hsu received his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Michigan in 1975 and has been a Faculty member of the Polymer Science and Engineering Department at UMass Amherst for 33 years.

Alan Lesser, Ph.D. is a Professor in the Polymer Science and Engineering Department at the University of Massachusetts. His research activities include structure-property relationships in polymers and polymer based composites, nonlinear and fracture behavior of polymer based materials, and processing polymers in supercritical carbon dioxide. He is currently Editor of Polymer Composites Journal, Assoc. Editor of Polymer Engineering and Science Journal, and resides on the Advisory Board of Journal of Applied Polymer Science. He is a Fellow of the Society of Plastics Engineers, has served as the Conference Chair for the Gordon Composites Conference, and has served as Chair of the Polymer Analysis Division, and Failure Analysis and Prevention SIG, for the Society of Plastics Engineers. He has published more than 80 papers in refereed journals and more than 90 in conference proceedings. Dr. Lesser received his PhD in Civil Engineering from Case Western Reserve University in 1988 and joined the faculty in the PSE Department in 1995 after spending 6 years in industry working as a Research Scientist for Shell Development Company.

E. Bryan Coughlin, Ph.D. is a Professor at The University of Massachusetts Amherst in the Department of Polymer Science and Engineering. Dr. Coughlin is actively engaged in the development of novel polymeric materials for advanced applications in aerospace, sporting goods, electronics, packaging, and numerous other industrial sectors that utilize plastics. Upon the completion of his Doctorate in Chemistry at the California Institute of Technology, he joined the Central Research and Development Department of the DuPont Company where he was on staff for nearly 6 years. Dr. Coughlin is a co-inventor of DuPont's Versipol® Polyolefin Technology Platform, and has over 25 patents to his name. His expertise covers anionic and radical polymerization as well as the use of organo-transition metal catalysts for the preparation of well-defined polymers. Since 1999 Dr. Coughlin has been on the Faculty of the Polymer Science and Engineering Department at UMass Amherst. He has won a number of national research awards.






(1) Begin the registration process on at the bottom of this web page and follow the instructions there. Remember, you can register for just one day or all three days or any combination of two days
We will need your name, affiliation, and contact information as requested.
After selecting "Verify", you will be prompted to Pay by Credit Card or Pay by Check. If you choose to pay by Credit Card, you will be directed to pay at PayPal. You will receive an email notice when payment has been confirmed. If you select pay by check, please contact Eveleen Tang at the email address in the "Contact Information" section.

If your company requires it, the GGPF Tax ID# will be provided to you by e-mailing a request to Nayan Ashar at Please note that the conference registration fee covers the short course expenses and is not a tax deductible donation.

(2) Your registration will not be complete until payment is received. For purposes of registration dates, or for first-come first-served issues, we will use either your date of registration by credit card or the post office date on the envelope which contains the check.

(3)An automated e-mail receipt will be provided as soon as you register and is usually sufficient for corporate reimbursement. You will also be given a receipt when you arrive for the class on the first day.

(4) Reservations will be accepted in the order received until the class size limit is reached. We expect to be able to accommodate 80 attendees per day. Early reservations are encouraged. No reservations will be possible after June16 or after attendance limits have been met.

(5) If someone else registers for you, make sure that your information is provided as the intended registrant.



(1) Cancellations by you: allowed until June 16 - you will receive a refund minus a fixed $50 administrative cancellation fee. You must cancel in writing or e-mail and have a verifiable acknowledgment from us that you have cancelled in time. No cancellations allowed after June 16. Registrants who fail to attend and who did not cancel in time will not receive a refund. If you personally cannot attend, another attendee from your organization may substitute (by arrangement only; contact Lothar Kleiner).

(2) Cancellations by us: in the unlikely event that not enough registrations are obtained, the class will be cancelled. If this happens, you will be notified by June 2 and you will receive a full refund.



For course content, contact Lothar Kleiner,

For web page or registration difficulties contact

If you can’t reach any of the above, contact Clayton Henderson, or Bruce

  • Continental breakfast and lunch will be provided on site each day at no additional charge.
  • Additional instructions will be provided to those who register for the event before the deadline of June 16 by June 20.
  • Hardcopy lecture notes will be provided to all attendees.
  • The instructors will stay until 6:00 PM to discuss specific issues.
  • Early Registration (Until 11:59PM June 2, 2012): $785 for the 3-day program.
  • Late Registration (June 3-June 16, 2012): $885 for the 3-day program.
  • No reservations will be accepted after 11:59PM June 16, 2012 or after the class size limit of 70 is reached.
  • Advance Registration and payment required. No drop-ins will be allowed.
  • No reservation will be considered complete until payment is received.

We are sorry but registration for this event is now closed.

Please contact us if you would like to know if spaces are still available.