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Polymers Basic

Intro to Polymers

The term polymer is commonly used today in the plastics industry, and it is often used to imply the meaning of “plastic” or “resin”.A polymer is a chemical compound where molecules (monomers ) are bonded together in long repeating chains. This chain is called the backbone.

Poly- means “many” and –mer means “part” or “segment”. Mono means “one”. So, monomers are those molecules that can join together to make a long polymer chain. Several MONOmers make a POLYmer !  we use the name of “monomer” because not all molecules can form polymers.

Water Molecule

Ethylene Molecule







commercial polymer exhibits some level of polarity and therefore is capable of absorbing a certain amount of moisture from the atmosphere. The amount of moisture that any given polymer can absorb depends upon the chemistry of the polymer and the atmospheric conditions to which it is exposed.While many materials are dried solely to optimize surface appearance, some polymers undergo more significant changes if they are processed in the presence of too much moisture. These materials actually enter into a chemical reaction with the moisture—called hydrolysis. This mechanism breaks the covalent bonds in the polymer chain, reducing the molecular weight of the polymer and potentially resulting in a significant reduction in mechanical properties.