Course detail

Polymer degradation, stabilization and additivation

FCH-MCO_DSAAcad. year: 2018/2019

The lecture includes analysis of principle types of polymer degradation from the viewpoint of their mechanisms and kinetics - i.e. thermal degradation in inert media, termooxidative and photooxidative degradations, biodegradation and chemical degradation. It deals with mechanisms and kinetic aspects of inhibited oxidations, individual types of antioxidants, light stabilizers as well as with mechanisms of their action, mechanism of polymers burning and modes of flame retardation. From other classes of additives, there are described softeners, lubricants, antistatics, foaming agents, colours and pigments, fillers, reinforcements etc. Strategy of formulating complex additivation systems, environmental aspects, recycling and waste liquidation are also discussed.

Learning outcomes of the course unit

1) Knowledge of basic principles and mechanisms of degradation of synthetic polymers
2) Knowledge of environmental impacts determining the life-span of synthetic polymer
3) Knowledge of test methods and testing conditions of polymers related to the intended application.
4) Ability of carrying out selection of polymers suitable for applications under given conditions
5) Ability of designing and evaluation of additive systems
6) Orientation in technical application capabilities of the most used commodity plastics


Examination from the lecture Macromolecular Chemistry, Organic Chemistry


Not applicable.

Recommended optional programme components

Not applicable.

Recommended or required reading

Hawkins W.L.: Polymer Stabilization. Wiley-Interscience, New York 1972. (CS)
Pospíšil J.: Antioxidanty. Academia, nakladatelství Československé akademie věd, Praha 1968. (CS)
Scott G.: Mechanisms of Polymer Degradation and Stabilization. Elsevier S.P., Essex 1990. (CS)
Doležel B.: Koroze plastických hmot a pryže. Státní nakladatelství technické literatury, Praha 1960. (CS)
Gächter R., Müller H.: Plastics Additives Handbook. Carl Hanser Verlag, München 1993. (CS)

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

The course uses teaching methods in form of Lecture - 2 teaching hours per week. The e-learning system (LMS Moodle) is available to teachers and students.

Assesment methods and criteria linked to learning outcomes

1st part a written test
2nd part an oral examination

Language of instruction


Work placements

Not applicable.

Course curriculum

1) Thermal degradation in inert media. 2) Termooxidative and photooxidative degradations. 3) Biodegradation and chemical degradation. 4) Mechanisms and kinetics of inhibited oxidations.
5) Antioxidants and mechanisms of their action. 6) Light stabilizers and mechanisms of their action. 7) Degradation and stabilization of PVC. 8) Polymers burning and modes of flame retardation. 9) Softeners and lubricants.
10) Antistatics and foaming agents. 11) Colours - dyes, pigments and introduction to coloristics. 12) Fillers and reinforcements. 13) Strategy of formulating complex additivation systems, environmental aspects, recycling and waste liquidation.


The goal of the lecture “Degradation, Stabilization, and Additivation of Polymers” is to make students in the field of material chemistry familiar with mechanisms of polymer degradation as well as with possibilities and mechanisms of stabilization and additivation of polymers accordingly to the requirements of individual applications.

Specification of controlled education, way of implementation and compensation for absences


Classification of course in study plans

  • Programme NKCP_CHM Master's

    branch NKCO_CHM , 2. year of study, winter semester, 4 credits, compulsory-optional

  • Programme NPCP_CHM Master's

    branch NPCO_CHM , 2. year of study, winter semester, 4 credits, compulsory-optional

  • Programme CKCP_CZV lifelong learning

    branch CKCO_CZV , 1. year of study, winter semester, 4 credits, compulsory-optional

Type of course unit



26 hours, optionally

Teacher / Lecturer