The polymeric science that is also known as macromolecular science is a field of science that deals with polymers. In particularly, polymeric Science specializes in the synthetic type of polymers such as elastomers as well as plastics. In a broader context, polymeric science is a multi-disciplinary and includes varieties of other disciplines such as engineering, chemistry, as well as physics. In this piece of work, the focus will be channeled to the concept of what is responsible for the versatility of the polymers (Wittmann & Lotz 219).
Polymers have become more conventional in the modern world. Consequently, it has replaced other traditional materials such as wood, natural fibers, ceramics, and even metal. As a result, it has been employed nearly all of the modern appliances. The reason for the rapid rise in the adoption of the polymers is their abilities to be diverse as far as the molecular structures and properties are concerned. It is important to note that with the ever evolution of the legislations that govern its usage and disposal, there have been constant modifications to reduce the extent of polymer environmental pollution. The following are the features of the polymers that are account for their versatility.
Intra molecular features (single molecules)
One of the most salient features of the polymers is the idea that they are made of organic materials that are interlinked to form a chain. These chains usually interconnect using the covalent bond to form a macromolecule. The repeating units that usually form macromolecules are often called monomers. Consequently, monomers always comprise of a given number of atoms that are equal to all of the molecules making up the material. Furthermore, monomers have the ability to rotate along the covalent bonds to exhibit rotational isomerism. Therefore, it offers the polymers to have the ability to entangle to create characteristic irregular conformations as opposed to the conventional straight-chained molecules (Ward, Mark & Theoni 217).
The conformations of the rotations of the intra molecules of the polymers are called stereoisomerism. Stereoisomerism can give rise to either Trans or Cis conformations. Primarily, Trans conformation is achieved only when the rotation happens to the molecules that are linked to carbon and carbon single bond. Therefore, trans conformation is only possible in the saturated hydrocarbon. On the other hand, cis transformation is archived when the rotation occurs at between carbon atoms that are linked with either a double bond or a triple bond.
Intermolecular features (molecules in bulk)
Thermoplastics are made from materials that have intertwined as well as independent molecular chains. One striking feature of these molecules is their ability to melt and flow on top of one another when they are subjected to heat. There are different forms of the thermoplastic polymers such as semi-crystalline thermoplastics. These thermoplastics always exhibit an orderly arrangement of molecules as their melts solidifies. It is important to note that the term semi-crystalline is used in the description of this polymer. This is because not all of the molecules of the polymer form crystal when in a molten state. The regions that do not form crystals are called amorphous. Examples of the semi-crystalline polymers include polyamide and the polypropylene (Kinloch 83).
Thermosetting are polymers that are characterized by the very high rigidity. Consequently, they are always very brittle making them be used mainly as reinforcements especially in the load bearing solids. One of the properties of materials that are used in making a thermal set is the ability to perform multiple functions. The main different between the molecules of the thermoplastics and thermosets is that in thermosets, molecules are cross-linked using covalent bonds giving them a wholly amorphous appearance. This property can be used to differentiate between thermoplastics and thermosetting. It is possible because when heated, thermoplastics always soften while thermosetting initially softens but latter toughens as the heating continues. Examples of the thermosetting include phenol-formaldehyde resin and the polyurethane (Kinloch 83).
Elastomers are a group of polymers that can stretch to an extent that they can assume even ten times their original size. The molecules of these polymers are long and flexible with characteristic very low intermolecular attractions. Therefore, the molecules that make up the segments have conservable high-localized mobility. During the manufacturing of the elastomers, chain flow, which is commonly known as slippage is avoided by cross-linking the molecules. Another advantage of cross-linking the elastomers is to create a three-dimensional network so that a polymer of various densities and properties are designed. In most of the cases, a process called vulcanization where sulphur is used as a reagent for the process does the cross-linking. The quality of the elastomer always depends on the amount of sulphur used in the vulcanization process (Ward, Mark & Theoni 221).
In all of the polymers, the versatility always depends on both the intra-molecular features and the inter-molecular feature. The interaction of these elements always contributes to the quality and the nature of the polymers. It is important to note that the use of any polymers is always linked to these properties. Consequently, during the manufacturing of any polymer, a manufacturer must keep in mind both the inter-molecular and the intra-molecular aspects of the intended material well in advance before embarking on the manufacturing itself.
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(2014): 83. Print.
Ward, Mark A., and Theoni K. Georgiou. “Thermo responsive Polymers for Biomedical
Applications.” Polymers 2.2 (2014): 215-242. Print.
Wittmann, J. C., and B. Lotz. “Polymer Decoration: The Orientation of Polymer Folds as
Revealed by the Crystallization of Polymer Vapors.” Journal of Polymer Science: Polymer Physics Edition 5.2 (2013): 205-26. Print.