Polymers

Polymers is a fantastic group of materials, rangeing from the DNA in the human genom to the rubber gasket sealing windows, the wall paint and you favourite jeans!

The word Polymer is greek and constructed from the two words poly and mer. Poly means "many" and mer means "part" i.e. "many parts". A polymer is built from monomers ("one part") of the same or different types and can be likened with a pearl chain.

What is a polymer?

As already said, polymers are present all around us as well as inside us.

  • Our genom, the DNA spiral, is a double polymer string built from different small parts to create the unique genetic code identifying each individual person
  • Potato, rice, corn, wheat - our most common carbohydrate sources - are all polymers built from a large number of glucose units
  • Paint is polymers dissolved in water or solvents.
  • Rubber is an elastic polymer, a so called elastomer
  • Textiles are polymers which are made into thin fibres and then woven or knitted.
  • Last updated 3/7/2012
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