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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

what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
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 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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