What are polymers and how do they work?
The most simple definition for polymers is that they are many molecules joint together like a long chain. The process of that is called polymerization. Monomers can undergo polymerization and they are formed when two separate molecules of the same or different types bind by sharing by sharing pairs of electrons. There are two ways a polymer can be formed, it can be manufactured or made naturally.
Man made polymers are referred as plastics and can be shaped/moulded into any shape. Some examples of manufactured polymers are plastics, glue, silicone, etc. Manufactured polymers can also be called synthetic polymers/materials. Synthetic monomers connect directly together and are called addition polymers, aka manufactured polymers. On the other hand, natural polymers release water when they are formed and that is called condensation polymers. Natural polymers consists of silk, hair, toenails, DNA, etc.
What are synthetic materials and how do they work?
I chose two different synthetic materials; nylon and polyester. Nylon goes through two complicated steps that consists of creating fiber’s strong polymers and then binding them together. Two sets of molecules are combined; one set is acidic whilst the other is made up of basic organic compounds (amine group). This results in a thick crystallized “nylon salt” called nylon 6 because it represents the carbon atoms between sets. It is heated to a high temperature, separated into thin strands, and then exposed to air so the nylon hardens immediately.
The second synthetic material I looked into is polyester and that is made from ethylene( which is deprived from petroleum) and dimethyl terephthalate (DMT shortened). They both react at an extremely high temperature and terephthalic acid is added later along with some other chemicals. Finally, it is formed into long ribbons which gives us polyester.
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Francois, Carol, and Bronwyn Harris. “How Is Nylon Made?” WiseGEEK, Conjecture Corporation, 12 May 2019, www.wisegeek.com/how-is-nylon-made.htm#didyouknowout.
“Man-Made Polymers.” Polymers, calebshowermanpolymers.weebly.com/man-made-polymers.html.
“Polyester.” How Products Are Made, www.madehow.com/Volume-2/Polyester.html.
Blaettler, Karen G. “What Are Natural Polymers?” Sciencing, 2 Mar. 2019, sciencing.com/natural-polymers-8707376.html.