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Unit outline_

CHNG9308: Engineering Macromolecules and Nanocomposites

Semester 1, 2024 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

Macromolecules and composite materials find a wide range of applications from construction, food to biomedical engineering. A significant number of engineers are employed by the related industries. This unit of study will facilitate engagement with a broad spectrum of modern engineering principles that range from the synthesis of such materials to design of products and processes for a range of industries with an innovative approach. The unit will also enable an understanding of developing sustainable technologies with the materials for producing goods used within industries or by consumers. The industrial applications will range from chemical, biomedical to electronics and nanotechnology. New and emerging technologies will be compared with established operating models. The unit will be delivered through workshops, seminars, class work and project-based learning.

Unit details and rules

Academic unit Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge

CHNG9203 and CHNG9206. Knowledge of reaction engineering, fluid flow, heat transfer and mass transfer

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Zengxia Pei,
Lecturer(s) Zengxia Pei,
The census date for this unit availability is 2 April 2024
Type Description Weight Due Length
Online task group assignment Laboratory experimental data analysis
Technical Lab reports should be submitted on Canvas.
30% Multiple weeks N.A.
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3
Presentation Presentation
Individual presentation
20% Multiple weeks 10+2 min
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO1 LO5 LO4
Assignment Assignment
20% Week 11
Due date: 10 May 2024 at 23:59

Closing date: 24 May 2024
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO4
Assignment Project
Individual Project
30% Week 13
Due date: 24 May 2024 at 23:59

Closing date: 07 Jun 2024
6-8 pages
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
group assignment = group assignment ?

Assessment summary

  • Assignment: This will help students absorb the concepts and stay up to date with the pace of lectures. Assignment and tutorial sessions will elucidate the relevance of the basic concepts with respect to engineering applications.
  • Laboratory work/experiments: Laboratory participation and demonstration sessions will enable students grasp the practical aspects of the discipline and understand relevant applications of the subject matter through participating in experiments and analysing data. Groups of students analyse and discuss their experimental results and eventually draft a report. Each group will submit their report 2 weeks post performing the experiment on Canvas. 
  • Presentation: This in-session activity will help students gain deep understanding of subject matter, enable the overall assessment of the concepts covered in this UoS and the student’s ability to analyse related problems in an oral communication form.
  • Project: Students will conduct research, analyse data and gain skills in written reports.



Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades set out in the Coursework Policy 2021 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.


For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

This unit has an exception to the standard University policy or supplementary information has been provided by the unit coordinator. This information is displayed below:

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59 pm on the due date: *Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date. **After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

Support for students

The Support for Students Policy 2023 reflects the University’s commitment to supporting students in their academic journey and making the University safe for students. It is important that you read and understand this policy so that you are familiar with the range of support services available to you and understand how to engage with them.

The University uses email as its primary source of communication with students who need support under the Support for Students Policy 2023. Make sure you check your University email regularly and respond to any communications received from the University.

Learning resources and detailed information about weekly assessment and learning activities can be accessed via Canvas. It is essential that you visit your unit of study Canvas site to ensure you are up to date with all of your tasks.

If you are having difficulties completing your studies, or are feeling unsure about your progress, we are here to help. You can access the support services offered by the University at any time:

Support and Services (including health and wellbeing services, financial support and learning support)
Course planning and administration
Meet with an Academic Adviser

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Multiple weeks Experimental Laboratory Practical (12 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 01 Introduction to Macromolecules Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO1
Week 02 Polymerisation-1 (Linear Step-Growth polymerisation) Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO1
Week 03 Polymerisation-2 (Non-linear Step Growth Polymerisation, Gels, and Hydrogels) Lecture (2 hr) LO1
Week 04 Polymerisation-3 (Chain Growth Polymerisation) Lecture (2 hr) LO1
Week 05 Polymers Characterisations-1 Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4
Week 06 Polymers Characterisations-2 Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4
Week 07 Nanocomposites Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 08 Polymers Processing-1 (Melt Processing) Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO3 LO4
Week 09 Polymers Processing-2 (Additive Manufacturing) Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO3 LO5
Week 10 Presentation 1 (individual presentation) Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 11 Presentation 2 (individual presentation) Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 12 Polymers Processing-3 (Solutions Processing) Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO3 LO4
Week 13 Operational Considerations in Engineering Polymers and Nanocomposites + Revisions Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5

Attendance and class requirements

Attendance is compulsory for this unit of study due to the extensive Group Work, Tutorial, in-class Quiz and Project requirements. All learning activities and assessments will be during class hours.

  • Tutorials/Laboratory Experiments: Face to face interaction, promote peers interaction and problem-solving ability. Laboratory participation and demonstration sessions will enable students to grasp the practical aspects of the discipline and understand relevant applications of the subject matter through participating in experiments and analysing data.
  • Report writing (own time): Self-directed learning sessions.
  • Independent study: Students are expected to spend time for ‘self-directed learning’ outside the specified contact periods. 3 hours per week is expected.


Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

All readings for this unit can be accessed through the Library eReserve, available on Canvas. 

  • Young, R. J., and  Lovell, P.A. Introduction to Polymers. 3rd edition. Boca Raton, Florida ; CRC Press, 2011.
  • Crawford, R. J., and Martin, P.J. Plastics Engineering. 4th edition. Saint Louis, United Kingdom: Butterworth-Heinemann, 2020.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Identify the properties, applications and methods of synthesis for a range of macromolecule and particle-based products
  • LO2. Analyse experimental data and conduct appropriate computations.
  • LO3. Critically analyse and select manufacturing processes for polymer-based products
  • LO4. Appreciate the flow behaviour of complex materials and their processability
  • LO5. Conduct research and report on new and emerging applications for macromolecules and composite materials in the manufacturing of chemical, biomedical, electronic and nanotechnology products

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

Laboratory activities have been updated to expose students to more hands-on activities.

Study commitment: Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

More information related to this unit will be provided on Canvas and in class.

Additional costs

There are no additional costs for this unit.

Work, health and safety

General University guidelines on Work, health and safety requirements must be followed. Specific WHS requirements will be advised for each hands-on and laboratory sessions as and when required.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.