SE251B / MATS 261B – mechanical Behaviors of
Polymers and composites



Instructor: Prof. Yu Qiao

Office: SME 442G | Phone: 858-534-3388 | Email:

Course Information: 


Class: TuTh 9:30pm–10:50pm, WLH 2205


Office Hours: TuTh 12:40pm-1:30pm, SME 442G


Suggested Reading Materials


P. J. Flory. Polymer Chemistry. Cornell University Press, 1953

M. F. Ashby, D. R. H. Jones. Engineering Materials II. Butterworth, 1998

D. A. Askeland, P. P. Phule. Essentials of Materials Science and Engineering. Thomson, 2004

G. W. Ehrenstein. Polymer Materials. Hanser, 2001

E. Miller. Introduction to Plastics and Composites. Dekker, 1996

D. Roylance. Engineering Viscoelasticity. MIT, 2001.


Subject Description


This subject is focused on the mechanical behaviors of polymers and polymer-matrix composites, covering phenomenological description in context of viscoelastic continuum mechanics as well as molecular mechanisms. Topics include general introduction to composites, viscoelasticity, spring-dashpot models, glass transition, rubber elasticity, micromechanisms of crazing and shear banding, ultimate properties of polymers, reinforced polymers, joints and adhesion, etc. This introductory graduate-level course is intended for students from all the departments in the School of Engineering.




Handout 1: Introduction to Composites

Handout 2: Overview of Polymers

Handout 3: A Brief Introduction to Thermodynamics

Handout 4: Polymer Families


Grading: Class Participation (10%) + Midterm Exam (45%) + Term Project (45%)


Term Project


Each student will choose a topic closely related to this course. A technical report will be finished by the end of the quarter. By the end of the 8th week, each student should have chosen the topic and received the approval from the instructor. The final report should be emailed to the instructor as a single pdf file, before 11:59pm on Friday in the last week of lectures (not the Finals week).


Sample topics: Mechanical properties of photovoltaic polymers; Mechanical properties of electrically conductive polymers; Mechanical properties of 3D-printed polymer parts; High-temperature thermosets; High-temperature thermoplastics; Behaviors of unsaturated polyesters in seawater; etc.


Structural Engineering Department’s Academic Integrity Policy can be downloaded [here].