Mechanical properties

A polyethylene sample neckingunder tension.

The bulk properties of a polymer are those most often of end-use interest. These are the properties that dictate how the polymer actually behaves on a macroscopic scale. [edit]Tensile strength The tensile strength of a material quantifies how much stress the material will endure before suffering permanent deformation.[29][30] This is very important in applications that rely upon a polymer's physical strength or durability. For example, a rubber band with a higher tensile strength will hold a greater weight before snapping. In general, tensile strength increases with polymer chain length and crosslinking of polymer chains. [edit]Young's modulus of elasticity Young's Modulus quantifies the elasticity of the polymer. It is defined, for small strains, as the ratio of rate of change of stress to strain. Like tensile strength, this is highly relevant in polymer applications involving the physical properties of polymers, such as rubber bands. The modulus is strongly dependent on temperature. [edit]Transport


Transport properties such as diffusivity relate to how rapidly molecules move through the polymer matrix. These are very important in many applications of polymers for films and membranes. [edit]Phase


[edit]Melting point The term melting point, when applied to polymers, suggests not a solid-liquid phase transition but a transition from a crystalline or semi-crystalline phase to a solid amorphous phase. Though abbreviated as simply Tm, the property in question is more properly called the crystalline melting temperature. Among

In other words. viscous amorphous solid. which describes the temperature at which amorphous polymers undergo a transition from a rubbery.synthetic polymers. The glass transition temperature may be engineered by altering the degree of branching or crosslinking in the polymer or by the addition of plasticizer.[31] [edit]Mixing behavior Phase diagram of the typical mixing behavior of weakly interacting polymer solutions. glassy amorphous solid. as thermosetting polymers will decompose at high temperatures rather than melt. to a brittle. Since polymeric molecules are much larger and hence generally have much higher specific volumes than small molecules. polymeric mixtures are far less miscible than mixtures of small molecule materials. The energetics of mixing. This increase in entropy scales with the number of particles (or moles) being mixed. on the other hand. This effect results from the fact that the driving force for mixing is usually entropy. is comparable on a per volume basis for polymeric . but because of an increase in entropy and hence free energy associated with increasing the amount of volume available to each component. [edit]Glass transition temperature A parameter of particular interest in synthetic polymer manufacturing is the glass transition temperature (Tg). the number of molecules involved in a polymeric mixture is far smaller than the number in a small molecule mixture of equal volume. not interaction energy. In general. crystalline melting is only discussed with regards to thermoplastics. miscible materials usually form a solution not because their interaction with each other is more favorable than their self-interaction.

the polymer appears swollen and occupies a large volume. Different side groups on the polymer can lend the polymer to ionic bonding or hydrogen bonding between its own chains. Plasticizers are generally small molecules that are chemically similar to the polymer and create gaps between polymer chains for greater mobility and reduced interchain interactions. The transition between the states is known as a coil-globule transition. In a bad solvent or poor solvent. Plasticized PVC is used for clothing for a flexible quality. intramolecular forces dominate and the chain contracts. these interchain forces are amplified far beyond the attractions between conventional molecules. Because polymer chains are so long. Under the theta condition (also called the Flory condition). the polymer behaves like an ideal random coil. Furthermore. or unplasticized polyvinylchloride. In this scenario. Plasticizers are also put in some types of cling film to make the polymer more flexible. concentrated solutions of polymers are far rarer than those of small molecules. the properties of the polymer are characterized by the interaction between the solvent and the polymer. .and small molecule mixtures. the partially positively charged hydrogen atoms in N-H groups of one chain are strongly attracted to the partially negatively charged oxygen atoms in C=O groups on another. A uPVC. This tends to increase the free energy of mixing for polymer solutions and thus make solvation less favorable. [edit]Chemical properties The attractive forces between polymer chains play a large part in determining a polymer's properties. In dilute solution. at which phase separation occurs with heating. the phase behavior of polymer solutions and mixtures is more complex than that of small molecule mixtures. the intermolecular polymer-solvent repulsion balances exactly the intramolecular monomermonomer attraction. These stronger forces typically result in higher tensile strength and higher crystalline melting points. In the theta solvent. polymer mixtures commonly exhibit a lower critical solution temperaturephase transition. because it needs to remain strong and heat-resistant. Whereas most small molecule solutions exhibit only an upper critical solution temperature phase transition. The intermolecular forces in polymers can be affected by dipoles in the monomer units. or the state of the polymer solution where the value of the second virial coefficient becomes 0. at which phase separation occurs with cooling. Polymers containing amide or carbonyl groups can form hydrogen bonds between adjacent chains. for example. In a good solvent. Thus. A pipe has no plasticizers in it. intermolecular forces between the solvent and monomer subunits dominate over intramolecular interactions. A good example of the action of plasticizers is related to polyvinylchlorides or PVCs. is used for things such as pipes. [edit]Inclusion of plasticizers Inclusion of plasticizers tends to lower Tg and increase polymer flexibility. These strong hydrogen bonds.

Ethene. The attractive forces between polyethylene chains arise from weak van der Waals forces. Van der Waals forces are quite weak. Dipole bonding is not as strong as hydrogen bonding. creating a slight positive dipole on this side. Molecules can be thought of as being surrounded by a cloud of negative electrons. but polyesters have greater flexibility. however.result in the high tensile strength and melting point of polymers containing urethane or urea linkages. This has the effect of lowering the electron density on one side of a polymer chain. however. . This charge is enough to attract the second polymer chain. so a polyester's melting point and strength are lower than Kevlar's (Twaron). their electron clouds repel one another. Polyesters have dipole-dipole bondingbetween the oxygen atoms in C=O groups and the hydrogen atoms in H-C groups. so polyethylene can have a lower melting temperature compared to other polymers. As two polymer chains approach. has no permanent dipole.

And it¶s true that paper is easier to recycle (although plastic bags are recyclable). Your bagger casually asks. paper isn¶t biodegradable either in modern American landfills. you could bring your own reusable bags to the grocery store. But as it happens. Most plastic bags are derived from crude oil or natural gas by-products that have been treated to form long chains of carbon and hydrogen molecules. Proponents of paper are likely to point out that paper is easier to recycle. plastic bags¶ handles make them much easier to carry. All in all. Which is better for the environment? Easier to carry? Less likely to be a choking hazard? You could stand in that grocery line all day. The Explanation: First. Plastic is less energy to make but it doesn't break down easily. Of course. Plastic The Dilemma: It happens every time you buy groceries. ³Paper or plastic?´ And if you don¶t answer within three seconds. So which is better? We¶ll begin with the case for plastic. on the other hand.which is better for the environment? Both paper and plastic have their drawbacks. but recycling itself takes energy and creates pollution. paper is mostly better for the paper industry. plastic certainly wins. They¶re then molded into the bag-with-handles shape we¶ve known and loved at grocery stores since the mid-1980s. baggers are usually taught to pick plastic). the best solution is to use neither paper nor plastic. People You Can Impress: It¶s not about impressing anyone so much as not letting your indecisiveness aggravate the people in line behind you. But that seems like an awful lot of work just to slightly increase the chances that your children can live on a habitable planet. compressed wood pulp. that plastic is derived from a nonrenewable resource. plastic bags are cheaper (which is why when you respond to the paper-or-plastic question with an ambivalent shrug. Also. Although the average paper grocery bag holds more than a plastic bag. Paper bags. For sheer ease of use. there are studies about this sort of thing) two plastic bags take up 72 percent less landfill space than one paper bag. . Instead. The best option would be to use a canvas bag or a reusable bag.Paper vs. let¶s dispense with the difference between paper and plastic bags. The Quick Trick: Plastic is probably better for the environment. are made (you¶ll never believe it) from trees²specifically. Paper uses trees and energy to make but it does break down easier. people start looking at you funny. According to one study (and yes. Plastic bags also take up less landfill space. and that plastic is nonbiodegradable. every study we found agreed plastic was the better bag. requiring less total energy to create and producing less waste than paper. But it¶s a complex question requiring considerable analysis. Paper And Plastic 'Paper' or 'plastic'. I keep a bunch in the back of my car so that they're always available when I'm going to the store. A lot of health food stores have those available and they can be pretty inexpensive. because landfills lack the water and soil needed for biodegrading.

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