- Polymer is a large molecule that is in the form of a long chain with a high relative molecular mass (RMM).
- It is made up of many smaller units called monomers, which are joined together through a process called polymerisation. Thus the monomer is actually the repetitive unit of a long polymer chain.
- There are two types of polymers:
- Natural polymers
- Synthetic polymers
- These occur naturally in living things. Some examples of natural polymers are:
- Natural rubber
- Protein in meat, leather, silk, hair and fur
- Carbohydrates in cellulose, starch and sugar
- Natural polymers are made up of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen.
- Synthetic polymer is a polymer that is manufactured in industry from chemical substances through the polymerisation process.
- Examples of synthetic polymers are:
- synthetic fibres
- The two types of polymerisation are:
- polymerisation by addition
- polymerisation by condensation