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Pervasive Polymers


In this laboratory you will become familiar with the classifications of polymers by synthesizing and examining several of the following:

  • a polyamide (nylon)
  • a cross-linked condensation copolymer (Glyptal TM size 12{ {} rSup { size 8{ ital "TM"} } } {} resin)
  • a cross-linked polyvinyl alcohol
  • a loosely cross-linked silicon-based condensation polymer (a polymethylsiloxane)

Additional information about polymers can be found in Chapter 12 of your textbook.


Your grade will consist of the following:

  • Pre-lab (10%)
  • Correctness and thoroughness of your observations and the answers to the questions on the report form (80%)
  • TA evaluation of lab procedure (10%)

Before Coming to Lab . . .

  • Complete the pre-lab exercise
  • Read the introduction and any related materials provided to you

NOTE: If you wear contact lenses, for this week’s lab, you may prefer to wear your prescription glasses. 


Approximately 50% of the industrial chemists in the United States work in some area of polymer chemistry, a fact that illustrates just how important polymers are to our economy and standard of living. These polymers are essential to the production of goods ranging from toys to roofing materials. So just what exactly are polymers? Polymers are substances composed of extremely large molecules, termed macromolecules, with molecular masses ranging from 10 4 size 12{"10" rSup { size 8{4} } } {} to 10 8 size 12{"10" rSup { size 8{8} } } {} amu. Macromolecules consist of many smaller molecular units, monomers, joined together through covalent bonds. The molar mass of the polymer is quoted as an average molar mass.

Both natural and synthetic polymers are ubiquitous in our lives: elastomers (polymers with elastic, rubber-like properties), plastics (the first plastic was used in 1843 to make buttons), textile fibers, resins, and adhesives. The more common polymers include acrylics, alkyds, cellulosics, epoxy resins, phenolics, polycarbonates, polyamides, polyesters, polyfluorocarbons, polyolefins, polystyrenes, silicones, and vinyl plastics, to name but a few.

Naturally occurring macromolecules are derived from living things: wood, wool, paper, cotton, starch, silk, rubber and have provided us for centuries with materials for clothing, food, and housing. Starch, glycogen, and cellulose are all polymeric versions of the monomer glucose. Again, we see that minor structural variations create chemicals with very different properties. Proteins are macromolecules composed of monomeric units of alpha amino acids; nucleic acids are composed of subunits (nucleotides) containing a nitrogeneous base, sugar and phosphate groups. Natural rubber is a latex exudate of certain trees and composed of monomers called isoprene units. The usefulness of latex was first discovered by Lord Mackintosh in Malaysia in the 19th century and provided the foundation of his waterproof rainwear empire.

When scientists linked the special properties of these substances (physical properties such as tensile strength and flexibility) to the sizes of their molecules, the next logical step involved chemical modifications of naturally occurring polymers.

Questions & Answers

Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, General chemistry lab spring. OpenStax CNX. Apr 03, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10506/1.56
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