What is Polymer?

The Basics of Polymer- Definition & its Properties:

If you're after basic information on plastic materials, this is the place to find it!! Here we will tell you about the definition and properties of polymers, the building blocks of plastics.

Plastics are polymers.

So what is a polymer?

The simplest definition of a polymer is something made of many units. Think of a polymer as a chain. Each link of the chain is the "-mer" or basic unit that is usually made of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and/or silicon. To make the chain, many links or "-mers" are hooked or polymerized together. Polymerization can be demonstrated by linking countless strips of construction paper together to make paper garlands or hooking together hundreds of paper clips to form chains, or by a string of beads.

The Structure of Polymers:

An ordinary polyethylene film has a molecular weight around 300,000. By way of comparison carbon-di-oxide and water have molecular weights of 44 and 18 respectively. Due to its very high molecular weight, plastic has high tensile strength, toughness, and percentage of elongation it is remain in the environment for decades.

Many common classes of polymers are composed of hydrocarbons. These polymers are specifically made of small units bonded into long chains. Carbon makes up the backbone of the molecule and hydrogen atoms are bonded along the backbone. There are polymers that contain only carbon and hydrogen. Polypropylene, polybutylene, polystyrene and polymethylpentene are examples of these.

Molecular Arrangement of Polymers:

Think of how spaghetti noodles look on a plate. This is similar to how polymers can be arranged if they lack a specific for or are amorphous. Controlling and quenching the polymerization process can result in amorphous organization. An amorphous arrangement of molecules has no long-range order or form in which the polymer chains arrange them. Amorphous polymers are generally transparent. This is an important characteristic for many applications such as food wrap, plastic windows, headlights and contact lenses.

Scientists and engineers are always producing better materials by manipulating the molecular structure that affects the final polymer produced. Manufacturers and processors introduce various fillers, reinforcements and additives into the base polymers, expanding product possibilities. Polymers affect every day of our life. These materials have so many varied characteristics and applications that their usefulness can only be measured by our imagination. Polymers are the materials of past, present and future generations.

Degradable Plastics:

Types of Degradable: Four different types of degradable polymers, around the world, are in the market:-

How Does this work? Please see below video : -

Comparison:

Few Advantages over starch-based Plastics:

Oxo-biodegradable plastics:

Starch-based plastics:

Starch-based biodegradable plastics are not much use in the fight against litter as they need to be in a microbial environment such as a landfill or compost heap in order to degrade.

Comparison with PAPER:

Bags for Life:

Re-usable shopping bags are not the answer either, because

Oxo-biodegradable plastics: