Unit 6 – Polymer Chemistry
What is a Polymer?
A polymer is any synthetic or natural substance that is composed of many large molecules bonded together to make very large chain like structures. Monomers are bonded together to make the large molecules that bond together that hat make polymers. The number of monomers that makes a polymer is unspecified as the word polymer means ‘many monomers’. For example polyethylene is composed of many ethylene monomers bonded together, the polymer can have up to 10000 monomers joined in a long spiralled chains. Polymers can made up of a single type of monomer but is it’s not necessary; more complex polymers are made by using multiple types of monomers (Britannica, polymer, 2013).
There are three categories of polymers they are linear chain, branch or side chain and cross-linked chain. Linear chain polymers are characterised by having smaller monomers join end to end with strong covalent bonds to form a long chain, with each monomer being similar to a link along a chain (Preston, unknown). Some linear chain polymers have branches or side chains form at definite intervals along the chain this then becomes a branch or side chain polymer (Preston, unknown). When the branches on a linear chain polymer become so prevalent and numerous they link to other polymer chains forming a cross-linked chain polymer (Preston, unknown).
What is Monomer?
Monomers are small molecules that can bond with other monomers to form a polymer through a process of polymerisation. Common parts of a monomers are double/triple bonds between carbons and side chains of the main chain of polymers.
What is a Plastic?
A plastic is a polymeric substance that has the ability to be moulded and shaped. Plastic can usually be moulded by applying heat and pressure. Plastics key features that make very useful are in combination of transparency, toughness, low density and low electrical...