POLYMERS

Bakelite. Leo Baekeland created the first completely synthetic polymer. The development of vulcanization later in the nineteenth century improved the durability of the natural polymer rubber. Henri Braconnot did pioneering work in derivative cellulose compounds. perhaps the earliest important work in polymer science.  . In 1907. Bakelite was then publicly introduced in 1909. by reacting phenol and formaldehyde at precisely controlled temperature and pressure. signifying the first popularized semi-synthetic polymer.Historical development Starting in 1811.

the longer the chains the stronger the polymer. Side groups .  . giving polymers that are more crystalline and therefore stronger. the polymer is harder and more difficult to melt. Cross-linking . Branching .if polymer chains are linked together extensively by covalent bonds.Properties of Polymers : Chain length .polar side groups give stronger attraction between polymer chains. making the polymer stronger. unbranched chains can pack together more closely than highly branched chains.in general.straight.

are often Science Plastic containers of all Consumer produced from polymers. and packing materials.Applications of Polymers : Agriculture and Agribusiness Polymeric Industry Automobile in and on soil to improve materials are used parts. especially polymer Medicine Many and elastomers are all heart applications used in the industrial marketmade valve replacements and blood vessels. windshields for fighter planes. . growth and wood substitutes. tanks. floor coverings. and packaging are other polymer applications. insulation. pipes. are . and protective helmets polyurethane. various clubs. Sports Playground Dacron. health. adhesives. provide mulch.biomaterials. Teflon and balls. golf of polymers like equipment. promote plant aeration. Clothing. shapes and sizes are light weight and economically less expensive than the more traditional containers. garbage disposal bags. swimming pools. matrix for composites.

They do not soften during subsequent heating.sification of Polymers :            •Thermoplasts: Thermoplasts polymers soften when heated and harden when cooled. Hence. •Thermosets: Thermosetting polymers become soft during their first heating and become permanently hard when cooled. . Simultaneous application of heat and pressure is required to fabricate these materials. they cannot be remolded/reshaped by subsequent heating.

O. N. they have very large molecular structures. and Si). often chain-like in nature that have a backbone of carbon atoms. hydrogen. •Many of them are organic compounds that are chemically based on carbon. and other nonmetallic elements (viz.Polymers •Polymers include the familiar plastic and rubber materials. Furthermore. .

poly vinyl chloride (PVC). . and silicone rubber.3). polystyrene (PS). These materials typically have low densities (Figure 1. nylon.Some of the common and familiar polymers are polyethylene (PE). polycarbonate (PC).

Density (g/cm3) (logarithmic scale) .

.5).whereas their mechanical characteristics are generally dissimilar to the metallic and ceramic materials—they are not as stiff nor as strong as these other material types (Figures 1.4 and 1.

Stiffness [Elastic (or Young’s) Modulus (in units of gigapascals)] (logarithmic scale) .

Strength (Tensile Strength. in units of megapascals) (logarithmic scale) .

many times their stiffnesses and strengths on a per mass basis are comparable to the metals and ceramics. .However. on the basis of their low densities.

they are relatively inert chemically and unreactive in a large number of environments. One major drawback to the polymers is their tendency to soften and/or decompose at modest temperatures. limits their use. they have low electrical conductivities (Figure 1. in some instances.e. which. many of the polymers are extremely ductile and pliable (i. Furthermore..In addition. . In general.7) and are nonmagnetic. plastic). which means they are easily formed into complex shapes.

Electrical Conductivity (in units of reciprocalohm-meters) (logarithmic scale) .

Figure 1 .) . and a plastic milk carton. (Photography by S. fork. and knife).10 shows several articles made of polymers that arefamiliar . two dice. billiard balls. a bicycle helmet. a lawnmower wheel (plastic hub and rubber tire). Tanner.The photograph in Figure 1. 10 Several common objects that are made of polymeric materials: plastic tableware (spoon.

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