Chemical Engineers in Polymer Science: The Need for an Interdisciplinary Approach

Richard A. Register, Stuart L. Cooper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Today, the new polymers being introduced are generally small-volume specialty polymers, such as block copolymers and liquid crystalline polymers, produced by smaller-scale production techniques and novel fabrication methods. Often the outstanding problem with such materials is not how to produce huge volumes at commodity-polymer prices, but rather how to produce an article that will perform in a particularly demanding application. The motion of polymers in concentrated solution and bulk is of major theoretical and practical concern. This chapter discusses new material development, different analytical techniques, and application outlook about the need for an interdisciplinary approach. Liquid crystalline polymers, with their high modulus, good chemical resistance, and ability to be used at high service temperatures, have outstanding prospects for use as structural materials. The use of polymer in bulletproof vests and as the reinforcing fiber in high performance composites demonstrates the promise that liquid crystalline polymers have as structural materials. For chemical engineers to continue to play a major role in polymer science, increased interaction with personnel from other disciplines is necessary, and successful interaction demands that the two parties have enough common ground to communicate. Chemical engineers have made essential contributions to polymer science and will certainly continue to do so in the future. As polymer science broadens in scope and permeates other fields as well, chemical engineers must recognize its interdisciplinary nature and be prepared to participate in this important technology in ever-evolving ways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)347-358
Number of pages12
JournalAdvances in Chemical Engineering
Issue numberC
StatePublished - Jan 1 1991

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Biomaterials
  • General Chemical Engineering


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