In this section of the unit you will learn how to relate polymer structure to polymer name.
The word, “polymer” originated from two word: “poly” and “mer.” While “poly” refers to many, “mer” refers to unit, therefore “polymer” refers to many units. So the word, “monomer” refers to one unit because “mono” refers to one. Polymers are therefore made of many monomers.
It is very easy to name the polymers if one can identify the monomers that made the polymer. Let us take a polymer that you are aware of: polystyrene – this is the polymer used to make plastic coffee cups and rigiform. Polystyrene is a polymer made of many units of styrene. If one knows the structure of styrene, it is easy to write the structure of the polymer. Notice the styrene monomer carefully. It has a “double bond” between the two carbons. But the monomer has a “single bond” between the two carbons in the unit. The double bond became a single bond during the process of polymer formation. This process of polymer formation is nothing but adding many units together, therefore this polymer is called an “addition polymer.”
Another type of addition polymer is polyethylene. This polymer is used to make plastic bottles and luggage. Polyethylene is made by connecting many units of ethylene using an addition process.
Still another polymer is polytetrafluoroethylene. A more common name for this is Teflon. You may know that non stick contains a thin coating of Teflon to prevent sticking. Electrical tapes are also made of teflon . This polymer is made by connecting many units of tetrafluoroethylene.
In this particular presentation I explained how to name a polymer using the name of the monomer that formed it. This is most suitable for addition polymers. In the next presentation we will talk about naming another class of polymers called condensation polymers.
Introduction to Polymer Names
POLYMERS RELATING POLYMER STRUCTURE TO POLYMER NAME