Polymer: large molecules made up of many monomers
Monomer: simpler substance of which polymer is made
Addition Polymerization: monomers' double-bonds open up to form continuous chain
Condensation Polymerization: elimination of smaller molecule when functional groups react
Addition polymers form:
when unsaturated carbon (organic) molecules react to form a long chain polymer molecule
and no small molecules or atoms are eliminated during the reaction
The general reaction can be represented as:
nR-C=C-R'   catalyst       →     -(- R | C - R' | C -) n- where R and R' can represent hydrogen atoms, halogen atoms, alkyl or other carbon-containing side chains.
Monomer Structure Polymer Name
Polymer Structure Polymer Uses
CH 2=CH 2
polyethene (polythene or polyethylene) -[-CH 2-CH 2-] n- LDPE for sandwich wrap, cling wrap
HDPE for water pipes, wire insulation
CH 2=CHCH 3 polypropene (polypropylene)
-[-CH 2-CHCH 3-] n- electrical appliances, automotive applications, ropes, carpets, films
chloroethane (vinyl chloride)
CH 2=CHCl polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
-[-CH 2-CHCl-] n- indoor electrical conduit, underground water pipes
CF 2=CF 2 polytetrafluorethene (polytetrafluoroethylene, teflon)
-[-CF 2-CF 2-] n- Insulation for wires, motors, generators, etc.
Anti-stick applications in cookware, bearings.
styrene (vinyl benzene)
CH 2=CH polystyrene
H | -[C- | H H | C- |     ] n- heat and electrical insulation, pipes
acrylonitrile (vinyl cyanide)
CH 2=CH-CN polyacrylonitrile
-[-CH 2-CHCN-] n- acrylic fabrics stronger than wool
CH 3COOCH=CH 2 polyvinylacetate (PVA)
-[-CH 3COOCH-CH 2-] n- adhesives, paints
Condensation polymers form:
when bifunctional monomers react to form a long chain polymer molecule
small molecules, such as water, are eliminated during the reaction
proteins and polysaccharides such as cellulose, are all examples of condensation polymers.
Polyesters form when the -OH functional group of one monomer reacts with the -COOH functional group of another monomer.
An ester link ( ) is formed between monomers during the reaction.
-COO- H 2O is eliminated in the reaction.
General reaction between a dicarboxylic acid and a diol:
HO | C || O - R - O H | C || O + - R'-OH HO     →     OH | C || O -R-     C || O R'-OH -O- + H 2O
terephthalic acid + ethylene glycol     →     polyethyleneterephthalate (terylene or dacron)
nHOOC COO H + n HO-(CH 2) 2-OH   →   -(-OC COO-(CH 2) 2-O-) n- + n H
Polyamides form when when the -COOH functional group of one monomer reacts with the -NH
2 functional group of another monomer.
An amide link or peptide bond ( ) forms between monomers during the reaction.
-CO-NH- H 2O is eliminated in the reaction.
Proteins are naturally occurring polyamides.
General reaction between a dicarboxylic acid and a diamine:
HOOC-R-COOH + H
2N-R'-NH 2     →     HOOC-R -R'-NH -CONH 2 + H 2O
hexanedioc acid + 1,6-hexanediamine     →     nylon-6,6 + water
nHOOC-(CH 2) 4-COOH + nH 2N-(CH 2) 6-NH 2 →   -(-OC-(CH 2) 4 (CH -CONH- 2) 6-NH-) n- + nH 2O