Polymer Chemistry

Polymer chemists  study large, complex molecules (polymers) that are built up from many smaller (sometimes repeating) units. They study how the smaller building blocks (monomers) combine, and create useful materials with specific characteristics by manipulating the molecular structure of the monomers/polymers used, the composition of the monomer/polymer combinations, and applying chemical and processing techniques that can, to a large extent, affect the properties of the final product. Polymer chemists are unique within the chemistry community because their understanding of the relationship between structure and property spans from the molecular scale to the macroscopic scale.

Polymer chemical professionals create, study, and manipulate the characteristics of polymers to create materials with specific chemical, biological, and physical properties. Polymers permeate every aspect of daily life, and it is difficult to imagine society without synthetic and natural polymers. Polymer products can be lightweight, hard, strong, and flexible, and may have special thermal, electrical, or optical characteristics. Because of their low cost, high specificity, and adaptability, polymers have a very wide range of applications.

They are used in the construction, furniture, electronics, communication, packaging, energy, health care, transportation, and sports & leisure industries, in everything from tractors to detergents to fabrics to aircraft.  A polymer can be an end product in itself, or it can be an ingredient that changes the properties of another product.

The majority of polymer chemists work in industry, and focus on the end-use application of products, with an emphasis on applied research and preparation. Industrial polymer chemists need to adopt a business outlook and understand the commercial applications of the polymers they are developing and the needs of the market they are serving. They often find themselves working with the sales and marketing divisions of their companies to develop products that meet specific customer’s needs.

  • Biopolymer
  • Branched polymer
  • Copolymer
  • Branched polymer
  • Macromolecular engineering

 

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