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THE BIG SIX POLYMERS

Plastics are polymers. What is a polymer?

The most simple definition of a polymer is


something made of many units.

Polymers are large molecules made up of long


chains of atoms covalently bonded together.

Monomers (from mono meaning one and meros


meaning unit) are small molecules used to
synthesize the polymeric chain, like a strand of
paper clips.

9.1
Natural Polymers
The polymers (poly means many) can be formed from the same type of
monomer or from a combination of monomers:

(a) A representation of a monomer


(b) A representation of a polymer made of one monomer
(c) A representation of a polymer made of two different monomers

9.1
Preparation of Polymers
Addition Polymerization
Monomers add to the growing polymer chain
LDPE, HDPE, PP, PS, PVC
Polyethylene [ethene]
Low Density
Polyethylene (LDPE)
High branching in
polymer chain
Less orderly structure
Low intermolecular
forces of attraction
Properties: soft,
stretchy, not too
strong
Polyethylene [ethene]
High Density
Polyethylene (HDPE)
Zero branching
More ordered structure

High intermolecular
force of attraction
Properties: greater
rigidity, strength,
higher mp
Polyethylene [ethene]

LDPE (4) HDPE (2)


General Properties
Thermoplastic
Can be reshaped upon being heated
Crystalline Regions
Long polymer molecules arranged neatly in a regular
pattern
Amorphous Regions
Long polymer molecules found in random, disordered
arrangement
Polyvinylchloride [vinyl chloride]

H H
H H
n C C C C

H Cl H Cl n

H H
C C
H Cl
head tail
Polyvinylchloride [vinyl chloride] (3)
Rigid PVC
Head to tail arrangement
Has crystalline regions

Uses: Credit cards, Water pipes

Softened PVC
Plasticizers - makes polymers softer and more pliable
Uses: Shower curtains, Clear IV Bags, Garden Hose,
artificial leather
Artificial Leather
Polypropylene [propylene] (5)
Head to tail
arrangement
High crystallinity
Strong, tough, chemical
resistant, able to
withstand high temp.
Uses: bottle caps,
videocassette case,
yogurt, cream and
margarine containers
Polystyrene [styrene] (6)
Expandable form
Expandable
polystyrene beads
Blowing agent a gas
or a substance
capable of producing
gas to foam up a
plastic
Ex: Pentane and CO2
Uses:Coffee cups,
Insulator
Polystyrene [styrene] (6)
Crystal form
Hard and brittle
Random arrangement

Uses: CD cases,
plastic party glasses
Preparation of Polymers
Condensation Polymerization
Monomers join by eliminating a small molecule (e.g.
H2O)
PET
Polyethylene terephthalate (1)
Copolymer
combination of two or more
monomers(i.e. ethylene glycol
and terephthalic acid)
Semi-rigid, colorless, gas tight
Uses: Beverage bottles, Mylar
processed PET used in audio and
videotapes, Artificial hearts,
Photo and X-ray films and
Containers for medical supplies
Polyethylene terephthalate (1)

Polyester
-Condensation polymer
which contains the ester
functional group
-easy to spun into fibers,
easy to wash and dry
quickly
Dacron mixed with cotton
or wool fabric blends
Polartec outer vests,
jackets, hats, blankets,
scarves, and gloves
Polyamides
Polyamide
Condensation polymer which
contains the amide functional
group
Natural polyamides: Proteins
Nylon
Synthetic polymer from adipic
acid and
hexamethylenediamine
Thin filaments strong and
smooth
Substitute for silk
Uses: Clothing, Sportswear,
Camping equipment
Rubber

Isoprene

Natural rubber
polymer chains are coiled and twisted
soft and sticky
Teflon
Non-stick coating
Non-reactive
CF2=CF2