What is a Polymer and its types ?

asked Apr 26, 2014 in Organic Chemistry by brucksin (29 points)

1 Answer

answered Apr 26, 2014 by varsha (81 points)

The term "polymer" is derived from the Greek words polus and meros, meaning "many much" and "parts", and it refers to a molecule whose structure is composed of multiple repeating units, from which originates a characteristic of high relative molecular mass.

The units composing polymers are derived from molecules of low relative molecular mass. The term was was first used in 1833 by Jacob Berzelius, whose definition was completely different from the modern definition. The modern concept of polymers as covalently bonded macromolecular structures was proposed in 1920 by Hermann Staudinger, who spent his life finding experimental evidence for this hypothesis.

By definition: A Polymer is a large molecule formed by many repeated subunits, known as monomers. Polymers can be briefly classified into two types

1.) Synthetic Polymers

2.) Natural Polymers

Because of their vast range of properties, both synthetic and natural polymers occupy an important role in daily life. Polymers range from familiar synthetic plastics such as polystyrene, polyvinylchloride to natural ones such as DNA and proteins that are fundamental to our environment

Polymers, both natural and synthetic, are formed by polymerization of many monomers. Their consequently large molecular mass relative to small molecule compounds produces unique physical properties, including toughness, and a tendency to form glasses and semi crystalline structures rather than crystals.

Polymers are also studied in the fields of biophysics and macromolecular science, and polymer science. Products formed due to the linkage of repeating units by covalent chemical bonds has been the focus of polymer science

Emerging important areas of the science now focus on non-covalent links. Polyisoprene of latex rubber the polystyrene of Styrofoam are examples of polymeric natural/biological and synthetic polymers, respectively.

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