So what is a polymer? Polymers are substances which have a high molecular weight, are made up of a structural units called monomers and can be both naturally occurring and synthetic. These structural units, or monomers repeat themselves over and over in chains and bond covalently with one another to form a polymer. A monomer is an atom, or a small molecule which binds chemically to others to form a polymer. Monomers are typically made from petroleum extract or natural gases but can also be made from organic compounds such as wood, corn and wool. (Nobelprize.org, 2016)
(emaze presentations, 2016)
Ok, but are all plastics made up of polymers? Yes, all plastics are made of polymers either fully synthetic or semi synthetic. Most modern polymers are produced, or made from petroleum crude oil.
There are two main types of polymers or plastics, crystalline and amorphous. Crystalline polymers are very organised with tightly packed monomers. Crystalline polymers chains are all packed closely together and run in straight, uniform lines which is what gives crystalline polymers their high strength. Amorphous polymers have no uniform pattern and their chains represent a bowl of spaghetti, mixed and jumbled everywhere with no order. Amorphous materials are often softer, more flexible and have a lower melting point than crystalline materials. Although all materials are both crystalline and amorphous in some percentage of each as a 100% crystalline material ...
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