The Impact of Polymer Chemistry Essay Example

  • Category: Chemistry, Science,
  • Pages: 5
  • Words: 1227
  • Published: 11 July 2020
  • Copied: 120


Polymer Chemistry is one of the few concentrations of chemistry that penetrates almost all fields of science. A polymer is a macromolecule created by linking monomers together. Polymer is made up of the Greek roots “poly” means many and “meres” means parts. Monomers and polymers are made from a carbon backbone and linking either hydrogen atoms to them to create hydrocarbons or linking a different element for different purposes. Polymers are mostly used to make plastics and such, but it can also be used to make nylon. Each type of polymer has different properties for different purposes ranging from weight and strength to chemical resistance and flexibility of the product.

The impact of polymer chemistry on the world’s daily life is incredible and ranging based on a few decent articles. In the article Polymers in our daily life. Man-made polymers are all around us in the world and they were first noticed in the early 1900s. Polymers are very large molecules made up of smaller molecules called monomers. Once they were first discovered, the demand for them increased dramatically. Now products like plastics, nylon, Teflon, etc. are all made from polymers. The fact that there was such a demand has led to a new branch of chemistry specifically related to polymer chemistry. It is no longer just a small focus in a class, now there are whole degrees related to it. The use of polymers is so wide that the need for people that are well educated on it has spread into a lot of fields. Such as medicine or engineering or even business. There will always be a future in polymer chemistry.

Making Polymer Chemistry Click

In the article Making Polymer Chemistry Click. From medical products to bulletproof glass, the use of polymers is far and wide. The production of the polymer, though, is somewhat contradictory. The process to create a polymer used to involve applying a bunch of highly corrosive catalyst to the “recipe”. That highly corrosive part means that it would damage the other pieces of the reaction before it can be completed. The catalyst was also a safety concern and bulk production of a polysulfate or polysulfonate polymer was costly. Polysulfonate and polysulfate are polymers with a sulfur atom or sulfonate compound attached to the carbon backbone. The new process makes polysulfonate or polysulfate (depending on the chemicals added) at a high rate with almost a 1000 times less of the catalyst. It is far less hazardous and opens up the opportunity for a large scale production. These polymers are able to compete with the polycarbonates now and produce far less waste and possibly a higher number of usable polymers. The whole process is called a SuFEx reaction and is the future of producing polymers.

The Basics: Polymer Definition and Properties

In the article The Basics: Polymer Definition and Properties. Polymers can be classified into two types: Thermoset and Thermoplastic. Thermoset polymers once formed into their desired shape cannot be reheated and formed into a new shape. Thermoplastic polymers are polymers that once formed into the desired shape can be reheated to make a new shape. Polymers are derived from a carbon backbone with hydrogens attached to make it a hydrocarbon but if another element is added it changes the function and the properties of the polymer into something else. If it is just hydrocarbons it can be a polypropylene but if you add a chlorine atom it becomes polyvinyl chloride (PVC). The structure of polymer gives it certain characteristics such as differing hardness, malleability, strength, chemical resistance, weight, etc… On a different note, the polymers final product has a hard time decomposing in a landfill. Recycling plastics can occur in a closed loop system, meaning that the waste plastic recycled into the same product, or they are incinerated. Other than the two disposal processes mentioned, recycling a polymer product is a very tedious process. Polymers are a versatile substance created for many uses, but when they have run their course, someone needs to come up with a better way to recycle them.

The articles written about polymers are not a perfect depiction and might need a little explaining. The purpose of the first article was to inform the audience about what polymers are and how they affect the daily industry and the author was able to accomplish this task. The purpose was somewhat trivial because the author really didn’t specifically mention what polymer products affected each industry, rather how polymer chemistry itself affects the industries. The author gave a lot of information about the effect of polymers on industries rather than the effect on daily life. For example, “It is not surprising that nearly all material scientists and more than half of all chemists and chemical engineers, a large number of physicists, textile technologists, mechanical engineers, pharmacists and other scientific groups are involved in research and development projects related to polymers” (Namazi). This explains the kind of fields and focuses of scientists with their development of polymers. It does not say how each field is improving because of it. 

The author of the second article was able to explain the new process of creating polymers to a point of near clarity to an audience who has a menial understanding of science. Describing the bulk synthesis of a certain type of polymers can be useful to an audience looking for information on production but otherwise it has a very limited need. To clarify the main point, scientists in a lab at the Scripps Research Institute have found a new way to produce a more effective polymer for commercial, industrial, and governmental applications. Many people looking for just simple information are going to find that this article was way to specific for them, but the way the author presented the information offered a kind of lab report style to it. For instance, the article starts with what happened, then moves to the impact of it, and then closes out with a summary of the old and new processes. 

The third article is almost a perfect explanation of polymer chemistry, polymers themselves, and went above and beyond explaining the environmental impacts. Its purpose, of identifying and explaining polymers, is worth the read. The purpose was broad enough to give detail but not too limited to a single aspect of polymers. It provides information in a way that anyone who has even a basic understanding of science can understand. The author was able to organize the article in a way that the background was displayed first and then moves into more and more detail as the article continues. Overall it was a well written article about a topic not too many people know much about. 

Obviously, polymers are still a very complicated topic but polymer chemistry has a great impact on our daily lives because of its versatility. Polymers can be made into products that are flexible like rubber or are lightweight but can withstand a lot of force like fiberglass. Anyway these polymers are made can save money for producers but can last for a while for the consumers. Polymer chemistry is still a growing field too and could be implicated in the delivery of vaccines or medications. 

Polymer chemistry is a growing field that has lots of lucrative potential in the future. In each article, the authors were able to provide useful knowledge. For instance, polymers are used in many different industries and can grow into more (Namazi). Another would be that the production of sulfur based polymers could take off and create a lot more products easier than before (Liu). Lastly, polymers are complex molecules that can have many different properties and can be used in many different ways (The Basics). Polymers are a very interesting aspect of chemistry even though it often doesn’t stay in that generic field. 

Works Cited

“The Basics: Polymer Definition and Properties.” American Chemistry Society , 2019, plastics.americanchemistry.com/plastics/The-Basics/.

Lu, Yiu. “Making Polymer Chemistry Click.” Energy.gov, 29 Nov. 2017, www.energy.gov/science/bes/articles/making-polymer-chemistry-click.

Namazi, Hassan. “Polymers in Our Daily Life.” NCBI, 2 July 2017, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5524987/.