What is Polymer Technology?

Polymer Technology can be described in brief as the manufacture, processing, analysis and application of long chain molecules. Materials that are typically classified as polymers include: plastics, paints, rubber, foams, adhesives, sealants, varnishes and many more. These materials, today, fully control the high technology era we life in to such an extent that it has become impossible to live life as we know now, without these products. Industries that are totally dependent on polymers include information technology, aerospace, music, clothing, medical, motor manufacturing, building, packaging, and many more.

As a study field, Polymer Technology is not well known among prospective students, but has vast employment potential. It therefore often happens that students enter the polymer field from areas such as Analytical Chemistry or Engineering and have to undergo retraining to function effectively in the polymer environment. Chemistry forms the basis and starting point of Polymer Technology but it also leans on other scientific study-areas such as engineering and manufacturing

What does a Polymer Technologist do?

A Polymer Technologist is an applied scientist in the true sense of the word and the study field offers a diverse scope of opportunities under its umbrella.

There are opportunities in production and production management of manufactured articles such as tyres moulded plastic articles, paints etc. Polymer Technologists are also found in the technical divisions of companies were design of manufactured products and the polymer mixtures to produce them are done.

Quality control in manufacturing of above-mentioned articles is another opportunity. Problem solving, research and consultative work using amongst other skills, analytical techniques for polymer analysis holds further opportunity.

Marketing of polymer raw materials and manufactured products is another direction that can offer a very rewarding career in the Polymer industry.

Apart from career opportunities in existing industries, there is vast potential for entrepreneurial activities, the setting up of an own business, manufacturing polymeric goods such as moulded plastic or rubber articles etc.

Qualities of a Polymer Technologist

The Polymer Technologist need to be self motivated, have an enquiring and logical mind. The ability to work with other people is important. Leadership potential can lead to rapid advance into senior managerial positions.

Employment opportunities

With this training as background, the motor-manufacturing and related supply- and service-industries of the Eastern Cape, such as the paint, tyre and plastic-component industries offer a wide scope of employment opportunities in the areas as  

What school subjects are required?

Compulsory: Mathematics & Physical Science

The Training programme

Admission requirements: Senior Certificate or equivalent qualification
Course: National Diploma: Polymer Technology
Duration of course: Two years full time study followed by a year in-service training in industry.


NOTE: Semester 1 of the first year is shared and common with Analytical Chemistry

First Year

Semester 1

  • Mathematics I
  • Physics I
  • Computer skills
  • Chemistry I
  • Analytical Chemistry I

Semester 2

  • Organic Chemistry II
  • Polymer Technology II
  • Paint Technology II
  • Polymer Raw Materials II

Second Year
Semester 1 and 2

  • Polymer Science II
  • Polymer Raw Materials III
  • Paint Technology III
  • Polymer Technology III
  • Analytical Techniques III
  • Polymer Science III
  • Process Chemistry

Third Year

Semester 1 and 2

  • In-service training



Contact information
Mr Fanus Gerber
Senior Lecturer: Polymer Chemistry
Tel: 27 41 504 3460

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