Polymers are made up of many molecules which are all strung together to form really long chains. Depending on what kinds of molecules a polymer is made up of determines how they act. So, things that are made of polymers look, feel, and act depending on how their atoms and molecules are connected. Some polymers are rubbery, like bouncy ball, and some are hard and tough, like a skateboard.
Most polymers are linear polymers. A linear polymer is made up of one molecule after another, hooked together in a long chain. This chain is called a backbone. Linear polymers do not have to be straight in length. The single bonds between atoms in the backbone can swivel around similar to a paper clip hooked together from end to end.
While plastics are used as a common example of polymers, there are many other materials which are also polymers which include anything plastic, proteins such as hair, nails, shells, DNA, silly putty, Styrofoam cups and plates, plastic bottles, and blocks of wood. Polymers include:
Polymers do not start out big. They start out as tiny little molecules that join together forming a chain. There are many polymers that occur in nature such as silk, cellulose, rubber, and proteins. In addition, a large number of polymers have been synthesized in the laboratory, leading to commercially important products such as plastic, synthetic fibers and synthetic rubber. And environmental changes affect the use of smart polymers.
It has been suggested that polymers might be developed that can learn and self-correct behavior over time. There are other more feasible applications that appear to be coming in the near future. One of these is the idea of smart toilettes that analyze urine and help identify health problems. From the evidence provided polymers area a significant aspect of human existence.
1. Natural polymers
They have been used for centuries. Many of those are shellac, amber, wool, silk, and rubber. There is another natural polymer that exists such as cellulose which is the main component of wood and paper.
2. Synthetic polymers
They a type of polymer made by engineers and scientists from artificial components rather than natural ones. Approximately 80% of the organic chemical industry is devoted to the production of synthetic polymers such as plastics, textile fibers, and synthetic rubbers. Synthetic polymers are commonly found in consumer products such as epoxy, textiles, cookware, synthetic rubber, resin, neoprene, and nylon.
3. Smart polymers
They are high-performance polymers that change according to the environment they are located. Such materials can be sensitive to a number of factors, such as temperature, humidity, pH, wavelength, intensity of light or magnetic field and can respond in different ways, like altering color or transparency. They are used for the production of biodegradable packaging, and to a great extent in biomedical engineering. Smart polymers may change adhesiveness or water retention properties, due to slight changes in those environmental triggers.
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