Polymer Fundamentals: Polymer Synthesis

Polymers can be of biological and synthetic origin, and are very important in our daily lives. They are used in all the major industries including textile, automotive, household goods, medical devices and products, etc. The significant difference between the requirements of these applications necessitates the availability of a large variety of polymers to choose from. Synthetic polymers can be prepared by addition and condensation polymerization using a variety of polymerization processes to yield polymers with differences in their stereoregularity, organization of their constituents, molecular weight, and crystallinity. All these differences yield polymers with different mechanical properties. Since the number of monomers available is very high, the variety of the polymers theoretically possible is also high. Some become viscoelastic and some are just plastic. Polymers are not always linear like noodles but can be made to have branches either of the same monomer or by adding other monomers to change the chemistry and the crystallinity of the product. They can be further branched or cross-linked so that the polymer becomes insoluble, and just swells in its linear polymer's solvents creating the gels. Or, a number of monomers can be used simultaneously to prepare macromolecules with properties that can be tailored to the needs of the application. All these play a deciding role on whether a polymer is suitable for load-bearing applications or in replacing the soft tissues in the human body. In this chapter, the main approaches to polymer synthesis and the parameters influencing the properties of the final product are discussed.
Citation Formats
V. N. Hasırcı, P. Huri, T. Endoğan Tanır, G. Eke, and N. Hasırcı, Polymer Fundamentals: Polymer Synthesis. 2017, p. 506.