Chemical Properties Of A Polymer

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A polymer is a large natural or synthetic molecule formed by combining a large number of repeating chains or rings of linked smaller, identical molecular units bonded together by covalent bonds (Helmenstine, 2015). These units, or monomers, produce polymers by forming chemical bonds between repeated units to create one, two or three-dimensional networks which are commonly made of hydrocarbons (carbon and hydrogen), and sometimes oxygen, nitrogen, chlorine, fluorine, sulphur, phosphorous or silicon. The most common polymers are formed from carbon atoms bonded together into long chains, creating the “backbone” of the polymer onto which other atoms, such as hydrogen may be attached (Plastics.americanchemistry.com, 2016). Although polymers occur naturally, specifically biopolymers of organic origin, they can be synthesised (synthetic polymers) to fulfil specific purposes (Ravve, 2000).
Polymers are high molecular mass compounds which can be defined by their chemical properties to enable differentiation. The degree of polymerisation describes the number of monomer units per molecule, and as synthetic polymers comprise a set of macromolecules of varying degrees of polymerisation, they accordingly possess differing molecular weights (Khokhlov et.al, 2011). This in turn results in varied physical properties, such as mechanical strength, solubility and brittleness, which differ according to the number of repeating monomer units (Ghosh, 2011). The chain length of a polymer is often
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