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Synthetic Polymers

Synthetic Polymers



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Published by jossera

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Published by: jossera on Aug 31, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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This group consists of naturally occurring polymers and chemical modifications of these polymers. Cellulose, starch, lignin, chitin, and various polysaccharides are included in this group.These materials and their derivatives offer a wide range of properties and applications. Natural polymers tend to be readily biodegradable, although the rate of degradation is generally inversely proportional to the extent of chemical modification.
 Naturally occuring polymers
exist in
 plants or animals
 –Natural polymers are made up of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen –Examples of naturally occuring polymers are
: in muscles, skin, silk, hair, wool and fur 
: in starch and cellulose
 Natural rubber 
: in latex –Proteins is formed by the polymerisation or monomers known as amino acids 
 amino acids protein
(monomers) (polymer)
 –Carbohydrates such as starch and cellulose consist of monomers known as glucose joinedtogether chemically. 
 glucose carbohydrates
(monomers) (polymer)
 Natural rubber found in latex consists of monomers known as isoprene ( 2 – methylbuta – 1, 3 – diene ) joined together chemically.
 Natural rubber comprises the molecules of the monomer 2-methyl-1,3-butadiene, alsocalled isopropene, joined together to form a long chain.
Synthetic polymer is a polymer that is manufactured in industry from chemicalsubstances through the polymerisation process. Through research, scientists are now ableto copy the structure of natural polymers to produce synthetic polymers.
Plastics, synthetic fibres and elastomers are examples of synthetic polymers.
raw materials
for the manufacture of 
 synthetic polymers
are distillates of 
However, most of them can be classified in at least three main categories:
thermoplastics , fibres and elastomers.Thermoplastics
 –is a polymer which, when subjected to heat, becomes soft so they can be moulded intovarious shapes. the
 properties of plastics
are :
light, strong, inert to chemicals
such as acids and alkaliand are
insulators of electricity and heat.
 –examples of plastics are
 polyethylene(PE), polyvinylchloride(PVC), polypropylene (PP), polystyrene, Perspex and Bakelite. Synthetic fibres
 –are long chained polymers that withstand stretching. –examples of synthetic fibres are
nylon and Terylene.
is used to make ropes, fishing lines, stocking, clothing and parachutes. – 
is used to make clothing, sleeping bags and fishing nets. Clothes made fromTerylene do not crease easily.
 –is a polymer that can regain its original shape after being stretched or pressed. both
natural rubber and synthetic rubber 
are examples of 
 –examples of synthetic rubbers are neoprene and
 styrene – butadiene rubber ( SBR )
 SBR is used to make
car tyres.
The two types of polymerisation are:
 polymerisation by addition .
 polymerisation by condensation .
Polymerisation by addition involves monomers with >C = C< bonding, where themonomers join together to make a long chain without losing any simple molecules fromit. Examples of polymers produced through this process are polythene, PVC perspex andother plastics.
Polymerisation by condensation involves the elimination of small molecules like water,methanol, ammonia or hydrogen chloride during the process. Examples of products of this process are terylene and nylon-66.
Synthetic Polymer Uses
NeopreneShoe soles, hoses, radiator hoses, wetsuitsPolyvinyl chloride or PVC(
)Raincoat, pipes, to insulate electric wiresPolyamide (
nylon )
Parachutes, carpet, ropes, form-fitting skiwear,hosieryPolypropenePlastics, bottles, plastic tables and chairs Teflon (
 polytetrafluoroethene or PTFE
) To make non-stick pots and pansPolyesterFilters, conveyor belts, sleeping bag insulationPolyethylene terephthalate (
)Soft drink bottles, peanut butter jars, saladdressing bottlesPolythene (
)Plastic bags, containers and cupsPerspex (
 polymethyl2-methyl  propene
)Aeroplane window panes, lenses, car lampcoversPolystyreneStyrofoam® cups, grocery store meat trays,cafeteria trays
 –Synthetic polymers have been used widely to replace natural materials such as metals,wood, cotton, animal skin and natural rubber because of the following advantages :
Strong and light
Able to resist corrosion
Inert to chemical reactions
Easily moulded or shaped and becoloured

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