Polymers proliferate

An Introduction to the Mechanical Properties of Solid Polymers
September 29, 1995

This book is based on two earlier editions of the book, Mechanical Properties of Solid Polymers, by Ian Ward who is regarded as a world authority in polymer physics. Unlike its predecessors, the third edition has been produced in an attempt to reach a broader spectrum of students reading materials science and polymer science, chemistry, physics and polymer-based engineering disciplines, at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, and for use by research workers in industry. This breadth presents a difficult challenge and the authors have made a commendable effort at producing such a textbook, especially as in the more than ten years since the second edition, the subject of polymer physics in general, and of the mechanical properties of polymers in particular, has expanded enormously.

Were this not the case, the scaling down of the second edition and the change in title using the preface "An Introduction to ...", might appear to have been made to justify the severe reduction in depth and length in the various topics and the inclusion of only very few, up-to-date (post-1983) references. However, to have included all of the latest information in the various topics would have resulted in a textbook of unmanageable proportions, and the authors have made the third edition somewhat easier to read.

An introductory textbook covering a wide range of subject matter should, by definition, give reference, in the form of further reading, to more comprehensive and definitive texts on particular topics. That this is not so in this third edition is a deficiency.

The treatment of anisotropic behaviour and materials is the real strength of the book, and is what distinguishes it from others dealing with mechanical properties. This important subject area is expanded into two chapters (Chapters 7 and 8) and, compared with previous editions, includes polymer composites as a new topic. Unfortunately, this topic is not treated as well as it might have been.

Overall, this third edition provides a sound theoretical framework, at an introductory level for understanding the essential aspects of the mechanical behaviour of polymers. The inclusion in several of the chapters of some elementary problems, together with their solutions, is an improvement. The book is well written with clearly presented equations and figures, and is sure to be used alongside other textbooks by many teachers, students and industrial researchers involved with polymeric materials.

John L. Stanford is a reader in polymer science and technology, Materials Science Centre, University of Manchester and UMIST.

An Introduction to the Mechanical Properties of Solid Polymers

Author - I. M. Ward and D. W. Hadley
ISBN - 0 471 93874 2 and 93887 4
Publisher - John Wiley & Sons
Price - £39.95 and £19.95
Pages - 334

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