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Chemistry investigatory project

Name- Himanshu Arora

Class- XII Science
Roll no.School- Saint Pauls Sr. Sec. School

I am greatly thankful for the
cooperation and help From school
authorities and the Chemistry lab
staff for the successful completion of
this project. Without their help and
proper guidance my project might
not have completed.

This to certify that HIMANSHU ARORA,
student of class XII science prepare this
project on "Polymers"
under the guidance of chemistry teacher
Mrs. Rashmi
of St. Pauls Sr. Sec.
School, Jodhpur


A polymer is a large molecule,

or macromolecule, composed of many repeated
subunits. Because of their broad range of
properties, both synthetic and natural polymers
play an essential and ubiquitous role in everyday
life. Polymers range from familiar
synthetic plastics such as polystyrene to natural
biopolymers such as DNA and proteins that are
fundamental to biological structure and function.
Polymers, both natural and synthetic, are created
via polymerization of many small molecules,
known as monomers. Their consequently
large molecular mass relative to small
molecule compounds produces unique physical
properties, including toughness,viscoelasticity,
and a tendency to
form glasses and semicrystalline structures rather
than crystals.
The term "polymer" derives from the ancient
Greek word polus, meaning "many, much" and
meros meaning "parts", and refers to
a molecule whose structure is composed of
multiple repeating units, from which originates a
characteristic of high relative molecular mass and
attendant properties. The units composing
polymers derive, actually or conceptually, from
molecules of low relative molecular mass. The
term was coined in 1833 by Jns Jacob Berzelius,

though with a definition distinct from the

modern IUPAC definition. The modern concept of
polymers as covalently bonded macromolecular
structures was proposed in 1920 by Hermann
Staudinger, who spent the next decade finding
experimental evidence for this hypothesis.

Polymers are studied in the fields

of biophysics and macromolecular science,
and polymer science (which includes polymer
chemistry and polymer physics). Historically,
products arising from the linkage of repeating
units by covalent chemical bonds have been the
primary focus of polymer science emerging
important areas of the science now focus on noncovalent links. Polyisoprene of latex rubber and

the polystyrene of styrofoam are examples of

polymeric natural/biological and synthetic
polymers, respectively. In biological contexts,
essentially all biological macromolecules
i.e., proteins (polyamides), nucleic acids
(polynucleotides), and polysaccharidesare
purely polymeric, or are composed in large part of
polymeric componentse.g., isoprenylated/lipidmodified glycoproteins, where small lipidic
molecule and oligosaccharide modifications occur
on the polyamide backbone of the protein.

Classification of polymers:

Classification based on source-

a. Natural polymeric materials such

as shellac, amber, wool, silk and
natural rubber have been used for centuries.
A variety of other natural polymers exist,
such as cellulose, which is the main
constituent of wood and paper.
b.The list of synthetic
polymers includes synthetic rubber, phenol
resin (or Bakelite), neoprene, nylon, polyvin
chloride ,polystyrene, polyethylene, polypro
pylene, polyacrylonitrile,PVB, silicone, and
many more.
c. Semi-synthetic polymers Cellulose
derivatives as cellulose acetate (rayon) and
cellulose nitrate, etc. are the usual examples
of this sub category.

2. Classification based on structure of

a. Linear polymers- These polymers consist
of long and straight chains. The examples
are high density polythene, polyvinyl
chloride, etc. These are represented as:

b. Branched chain polymers -These

polymers contain linear chains having
some branches, e.g., low density
polythene. These are depicted as follows:

c. Cross linked or Network polymers- These

are usually formed from bi-functional and
tri-functional monomers and contain strong
covalent bonds between various linear
polymer chains, e.g. bakelite, melamine,

etc. These polymers are depicted as


Classification based on mode of

a. Addition polymers
The addition polymers are formed by the
repeated addition of monomer molecules

possessing double or triple bonds, e.g., the

formation of polythene from ethene and
polypropene from propene. However, the
addition polymers formed by the
polymerisation of a single monomeric species
are known as homopolymers, e.g., polythene.
The polymers made by addition
polymerisation from two different monomers
are termed as copolymers, e.g., Buna-S,
Buna-N, etc.

A list of addition polymers-

b. Condensation polymers
The condensation polymers are formed by
repeated condensation reaction between two
different bi-functional or tri-functional

monomeric units. In these polymerisation

reactions, the elimination of small molecules
such as water, alcohol, hydrogen chloride, etc.
take place. The examples are terylene
(dacron), nylon 6, 6, nylon 6, etc. For
example, nylon 6, 6 is formed by the
condensation of hexamethylene diamine with
adipic acid.

A list of condensation polymers-

Some important polymers1.


A Natural Polymer Natural latex

is found in the inner bark of
many trees, especially those found in Brazil and
the Far East. The white sticky sap of plants such
as milkweed and dandelions is also a latex.
Latex will turn into a rubbery mass within 12
hours after it is exposed to the air. The latex
protects the tree or plant by covering the wound
with a rubbery material like a bandage. Natural
rubber is a polymer of isoprene in the form of
folded polymeric chains which are joined in a
network structure and have a high degree of
flexibility Upon application of a stress to a
rubber material, such as blowing up a balloon or
stretching a rubber band, the polymer chain,
which is randomly oriented, undergoes bond
rotations allowing the chain to be extended or
elongated. The fact that the chains are joined in
a network allows for elastomeric recoverability
since the cross-linked chains cannot irreversibly
slide over one another. The changes in
arrangement are not constrained by chain
rigidity due to crystallization or high viscosity
due to a glassy state. Since latex will solidify in
air, a stabilizer is added to prevent
polymerization if the latex is to be stored or

shipped in liquid form. The stabilizer is usually

0.5 to 1% ammonia. When the ammonia is
removed by evaporation or by neutralization,
the latex will solidify into rubber.

BAKELITE ,The First Synthetic Polymer

A phenol-formaldehyde polymer, Bakelite was

the first completely synthetic plastic, first made
by Leo Baekeland in 1907. Baekeland and an
assistant started their research in 1904 looking
for a synthetic substitute for shellac. Bakelite
was commercially introduced in 1909. Bakelite
was first used to make billiard balls, but, later,
was used to make molded insulation, valve
parts, knobs, buttons, knife handles, many types

molded plastic containers for radios and

electronic instruments, and more.
RAYON, The First Synthetic Fiber
What may be considered as the first precursor to
Rayon, Louis Marie Hilaire Bernigaut, Comte
de Chardonnet worked on a process of

producing threads of an artifical silk made

from collodion in 1884. Chardonnets silk was
finally marketed in 1891, but was short-lived
after a young ladys ball gown when up in a puff
of smoke after being touched by the lighted
cigar of her escort. Charles F. Cross and Edward
J. Bevan patened their formula for viscose, a
cellulose polymer, in 1892 and were soon
manufacturing items of their new Viscoid. The
first viscose thread was made by Charles
Topham Jr. and commericially produced in
1899. Rayon, made from regenerated cellulose
in 1926, marketed by Du Pont, was finally used
as a replacement for silk.


Polystyrene is used to make many

of containers such as videocassette
compact disk jewel boxes,
tableware (forks, knives and spoons), and
cafeteria trays. A foamed form of polystyrene is
used to make coffee cups, grocery store meat
trays, and building insulation. To minimize
fumes in the laboratory, this procedure uses a
styrene casting resin.
Chemical properties
The attractive forces between polymer chains
play a large part in determining polymer's

properties. Because polymer chains are so

long, these interchain forces are amplified far
beyond the attractions between conventional
molecules. Different side groups on the
polymer can lend the polymer to ionic
bonding or hydrogen bonding between its own
chains. These stronger forces typically result
in higher tensile strength and higher
crystalline melting points.
The intermolecular forces in polymers can be
affected by dipoles in the monomer units.
Polymers containing amide or carbonyl groups
can form hydrogen bonds between adjacent
chains; the partially positively charged
hydrogen atoms in N-H groups of one chain
are strongly attracted to the partially
negatively charged oxygen atoms in C=O
groups on another. These strong hydrogen
bonds, for example, result in the high tensile
strength and melting point of polymers
containing urethane or urea linkages. Polyester
s have dipole-dipole bonding between the
oxygen atoms in C=O groups and the
hydrogen atoms in H-C groups. Dipole
bonding is not as strong as hydrogen bonding,
but polyesters have greater flexibility.
Ethene, however, has no permanent dipole.
The attractive forces between polyethylene
chains arise from weak van der Waals forces.

Molecules can be thought of as being

surrounded by a cloud of negative electrons.
As two polymer chains approach, their
electron clouds repel one another. This has the
effect of lowering the electron density on one
side of a polymer chain, creating a slight
positive dipole on this side. This charge is
enough to attract the second polymer chain.
Van der Waals forces are quite weak, however,
so polyethylene can have a lower melting
temperature compared to other polymers.

1. Internet Source :

2. Books- NCERT Class XII