Polymers

A polymer is a large macromolecule made up of single small repeated subunits called monomers in a process called polymerization. Polymers can be natural polymers and synthetic polymers where the former one is the biological compounds like proteins in our body whereas the latter one is the plastics like polystyrenes. Polymers possess a broad range of properties like toughness, viscoelasticity, etc., they play a universal role in everyday life. Polymers are studied in variety of fields like Biophysics, Macromolecular science, Polymer Science which includes Polymer Chemistry and Polymer Physics. The products formed from the linkage of repeating units by covalent bonding is the primary focus of Polymer Science. 

The polymer molecules arranged linearly (unbranched) one after the other forms the “backbone” of a macromolecule. Polymers are usually composed of hydrocarbons, compounds of carbon and hydrogen. Linear polymers when not arranged in a specific order is known as amorphous polymer and those arranged according to a specific order is known as crystalline polymer. The polymers are classified based on many characteristics like their origin, structure, mode of polymerization, molecular forces. Polymerization is the process by which monomers get combined and transformed into polymers. Polymerization is a step by step process which begins with the chain initiation, followed by chain propagation and finally ends with the chain termination step. Copolymers are formed when two different monomers combine to form a polymeric molecule. Polymers are more beneficial as insulating material, materials for gears, etc., They enhance self-lubrication cost savings. Also, noise reduction and weight reduction are achieved by using polymer materials for gears. The disposal of polymers brings certain disadvantages like excess production of carbon dioxide which further adds to global warming, toxic gases are also released. Incineration, land fills and recycling are the best ways to dispose polymers by protecting the environment.  

  • Thermoplastics
  • Thermosets
  • Bakelite
  • Co-polymerization

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