Graduate Certificates

Plastics Materials Certificate

MaterialsThe Department of Plastics Engineering now offers a stand-alone, four-course graduate certificate in "Plastics Materials." 

More information can be found on the UMass Lowell Plastics Engineering website. You can apply for this certificate program through Graduate Admissions

For the latest course information and descriptions please visit the UMass Lowell online Graduate Academic Catalog.

Required Courses:

Advanced Plastics Materials

This course reviews the historical developments of polymeric material systems, commodity, engineering, biodegradable, and high performance thermoplastics. Topics include their synthesis, structure, properties, and applications and there is also an overview of typical additives that are used to modify the properties of plastics. Knowledge of general and/or organic chemistry is recommended as a prerequisite for this course.

Polymer Structure, Properties, and Applications

Relationships between polymer structure (chemical composition, molecular weight and flexibility, inter-molecular order and bonding, supermolecular structure) and practical properties (mechanical, acoustic, thermal, electrical, optical and chemical) and applications.

Elective Courses (choose two of the following):

Polymer Structure II

Continuation of 26.506.

Polymer Blends

Physical, mechanical and thermal properties, preparation, and testing of polymer blends, alloys and multiphase systems. Thermodynamic theories and experimental determination of miscibility of polymer blends. Structure-property relationships for multiphase systems and interpenetrating networks.

Porous Polymers

Preparation, structure, and properties of porous polymers. Includes both practical systems in development and production and novel techniques of more fundamental interest and/or aimed at more specialized applications. Existing and potential applications for these materials will also be discussed, and related back to their structure and properties.

New Plastics Materials

Critical examination of the new plastics appearing in the research literature and being field-tested for commercialization in the plastics industry.

Adhesives and Adhesion

(3 credits) Adhesive joining of engineering materials. Surface chemistry, theories of adhesion and cohesion, joint design, surface preparation, commercial adhesives, rheology, equipment, testing, service life, and reliability. 

Coatings Science and Technology I

This course reviews the basic principles of design and formulation of waterborne, high-solids, powder resins used for the developmnt of solvent-less green coatings and the use of bio-derived resins, mostly based on soybean oil and other renewable raw materials. The mechanisms and methodds of curing and of polymerization for polymers used as coatings will also be covered.

Commercial Development of Polymeric Systems

The concepts of industrial marketing will be reviewed for research, pricing strategies, and product planning for market segmentation, place (distribution)-promotional activities. Topics will include creating a demand, selling, and servicing base resins and additives.

Colloidal Nanoscience & Nanoscale Engineering

This course will cover the fundamentals of nanoscale colloidal processes, intermolecular forces and electrostatic phenomena at interfaces, boundary tensions and films at interfaces, electrostatic and London forces in disperse systems, interactions and self-assembly of polymer colloids, nanoparticles, surfactants and biomolecules. Applications include microfluidics; lab-on-a-chip; nanobiocolloids, vesicles, colloidosomes, polymersomes and polymer hydrogel microcapsules for drug delivery and nanostructured materials and devices. 

Materials for Renewable Energy and Sustainability

This course reviews the selection and design of materials for use in energy generation and conservation applications. Both traditional and renewable technologies for energy generation are reviewed, and the differences in materials needs for generation, storage and transmission highlighted. Particular emphasis is placed on organic and polymeric materials technological challenges in solar, wind and hydro/geothermal energy and future transportation fuel production. The concept of life cycle assessment is introduced for the optimization of systems from a materials science perspective. The impacts of global economics, ethics and efficiency are also addressed. The course approaches sustainability as an open-ended engineering problem and introduces students to the broad range of career opportunities for materials engineers in renewable energy.

Elements of Packaging

Packaging methods, materials, and container designs. Analysis of container manufacturing methods for paper, plastics, cans, cardboard and their specific properties.

Engineering Thermosetting Resins

Market sectors served and related processing/fabrication technologies used in reinforced plastics/composites are reviewed.

Polymeric Material Systems Solution

This upper-level course investigates the selection processes to be followed in screening material candidates, and specifying a material of record. Emphasis is placed on prioritizing performance requirements, contrasting candidates, reviewing processing, and post-fabrication schemes. Based on actual case studies.

Polymer Science I

(3 credits) An introductory course in polymer science and technology including basic classification and molecular structures, synthesis, solution properties and molecular weight determination, solid-state properties including both the amorphous and crystalline states, degradation mechanisms, polymer reaction, network formation, copolymerization and blends/alloys.

Polymer Nanocomposites

(3 credits) This course deals with the preparation, characterization, behavior and properties of polymer nanocomposites, with an emphasis on the most commercially relevant systems to date, as well as new developments in the field. The major preparation routes to these materials are discussed, with an emphasis on the importance not only of dispersion but of true thermodynamic compatibility in these systems. From there, the focus shifts to describe the consequences of nanocomposite structure in trms of both molecular behavior and macroscopic properties, as informed by the most up-to-date research literature available. Case studies of specific systems will serve as opportunities to gain deeper understanding, and the safety issues surrounding nanoparticle handling will also be presented. Finally, current research by invited lecturers working in the field will be presented as time permits.

Plastics, Elastomers and Additives from Renewable Resources

This course will provide an introduction to plastics, elastomers and additives obtained from renewable resources. Processes that involve conversion (chemically/enzymatically) of naturally occurring precursors (monomers) obtained from renewable resources to plastics and elastomers will be reviewed. Brief discussion of processing, degradation and recycling of these materials will also be included.

Plastics Industry Development

The goals of this course are numerous. In the large sense, the primary focus of this course will be to review many of the major technological developments and discoveries that have helped make the plastics industry what it is today. Having a thorough understanding of how these developments were implemented commercially can help us implement commercially can help us implement modern day technologies in a more efficient and productive manner.

12 Credits

Contact Information

Professor Stephen McCarthy
Department of Plastics Engineering
College of Engineering
UMass Lowell
Ball Hall Room 207
One University Avenue Lowell, MA 01854
Phone: 978-934-3417
Fax: 978-934-3065

Department of Plastics Engineering Main Office
Ball Hall Room 204
Phone: 978-934-3420
Fax: 978-934-3089

The Registrar’s Office
UMass Lowell
883 Broadway Street - Dugan Hall
Lowell, MA 01854
Office Hours:
Monday thru Friday
8:30 AM to 5 PM

Main Office:
Phone: 978-934-2550, or 800-656-GRAD
Fax: 978-934-4076
TTY: 978-934-2367

Graduate Admissions Office:
Phone: 978-934-2373
Fax: 978-934-4058

To apply for this certificate program, go to Graduate Admissions

For courses and descriptions, go to the Graduate Academic Catalog.