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20 contact hours
Used For:
2 Continuing Education Units

Biodegradable Polymers Online Training Course

Biodegradable polymers decompose in natural aerobic (composting) and anaerobic (landfill) environments. Biodegradation of these polymers can be achieved by enabling microorganisms in the environment to metabolize the molecular structure of the product to produce safe and clean byproducts. Biodegradable polymers have experienced strong growth over the last three years and are set to make further inroads into markets traditionally dominated by conventional thermoplastics in future.

Biodegradable Polymers is a course that investigates four main classes of biodegradable polymers:

  1. polymers from biomass such as the agro-polymers from agro-resources (e.g., starch, cellulose)

  2. polymers obtained by microbial production (i.e. polyhydroxy-alkanoates)

  3. polymers conventionally and chemically synthesized and whose the monomers are obtained from agro-resources (e.g., the poly(lactic acid)

  4. polymers whose monomers and polymers are obtained conventionally, by chemical synthesis

The course will review biodegradation mechanism, measurement techniques and global standards, polymerization, structure, and polymer properties. Students will study special requirements of processing techniques, sterilization and storage of biodegradable polymers, and a review of markets, applications, and outlook.

Course Outcome

After completing Biodegradable Polymers, students will be equipped with a basic understanding of the following:

  • what does biodegradation mean
  • biodegradation test protocols and standards
  • biodegradable polymer classifications
  • polymerization, structure, and properties
  • processing techniques, sterilization, and storage
  • markets and applications
  • future outlook

Completion of Polymer Chemistry Fundamentals (or equivalent) is recommended, but not required

Students will be assigned 5 homework assignments, and a final project for each course.


Biodegradation mechanisms

Measurement of biodegradability

  • Test protocols
  • Global standards

Monomers obtained from agro-resourced polymers (i.e PLA, PEG)

  • Polymerization
  • Structure
  • Properties
  • Degradation
  • Suppliers

Biomass-derived polymers (i.e starch, cellulose based)

  • Polymerization
  • Structure
  • Properties
  • Degradation
  • Suppliers

Synthetic biodegradable polymers (i.e. PCL, PEA, PBSA)

  • Polymerization
  • Structure
  • Properties
  • Degradation
  • Suppliers

Microbial production-based polymers (i.e. PHA, PHB, PHBV)

  • Polymerization
  • Structure
  • Properties
  • Degradation
  • Suppliers

Processing, sterilization and storage of biodegradable polymers

  • Film Blowing and Casting
  • Injection Molding
  • Blow Molding
  • Injection Stretch Blow Molding
  • Thermoforming
  • Fiber Spinning

Markets & Applications

  • Medical
  • Industrial

Outlook for the future



This course is Instructor-led and delivered through our award-winning online Learning Management System