1 - 10 of 13 Chapters
[The question ‘How big are plastics molecules?’ is addressed in relation to common organic compounds. The origin and meaning of the word ‘Macromolecule’ is described. Understanding and inventing are considered in the context of polymers developed in the 19th century.]
[Aspects of the history of rubber are very briefly described, with special reference to the pioneers of vulcanization, Charles Goodyear and Thomas Hancock. The meaning of crosslinking is explained with reference to rubber and its highly crosslinked version, Vulcanite.]
[The isolation of cellulose and its conversion to cellulose nitrate and acetate are described, together with an account of the commercial exploitation of these new materials. The modification of casein, obtained from milk, is also recorded.]
[In this chapter we see how the idea that rubber could be a substance of very high molecular weight came to be accepted, largely through the pioneering work of Hermann Staudinger.]
[Thermoplastic and thermosetting polymers are introduced and their differences explained. A description is given of the first commercially successful fully synthetic class of polymers, phenol/formaldehyde resins, which were discovered by Leo Baekeland. The term ‘functionality’ is introduced as...
[A very short chapter drawing attention to the burgeoning of polymers of many types in the early 20th century. It is noted that annual production of the order of 300 million tonnes has caused unforeseen environmental problems.]
[The factors which determine the outstanding physical properties of polymers produced on a large scale are listed as Crystallinity, Hydrogen Bonding, Reinforcement and Plasticization. Each of these is considered in some detail.]
[Attention is drawn to the remarkable variety of chemical groups such as esters, chlorides, alcohols etc, which can be present in polymers of different types. Thus an abundance of further chemical transformations are possible. As examples, water softening agents and solid phase synthesis of...
[The different ways of initiating the polymerization of an unsaturated monomer such as styrene or ethylene are described. Brief accounts of free radical, cationic, anionic and organometallic initiators are included. The free radical mechanism for the polymerization of styrene is treated in a...
[CopolymersA brief summary of copolymers is given with mention of some important commercial examples. The significance of monomer reactivity ratios is stressed.]
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