Polymers, Biopolymers & Plastics












Polymers are long-chain molecules

that are made up of smaller repeating units, the so-called

monomers

. Some polymers contain only one

type of monomer building block

; others, known as copolymers, may contain two or more different types of monomers.

The arrangement of

polymer chains over multiple length

scales and a detailed understanding of the

properties of plastics

, including their degradation and different structures, is a central challenge in

polymer science

. We have brought together some essential information here.

The expression "

natural polymers

" could lead to misunderstandings. Are there any

unnatural polymers

? Why this group of substances is called "natural" is due to its origin in living nature, so they are polymers of biological origin. They can also be described more appropriately with the

term "biopolymers"

.

Plastics are made up of synthetic polymers

. They make our modern life possible. Together with various additives (such as stabilizers, flame retardants and plasticizers) that influence the physical properties of the material. They are light and resilient, can be processed into fibers and films, but also into large components, they can be foamed and brought into any imaginable shape.


Water-soluble (=soluble or liquid) synthetic polymers occupy a special position among the terms polymers and plastics. The reason for this is that these chemicals are compounds that dissolve in water and with water. They do not become microplastics (these are just solid particles), but by definition they fall into the same class of substances due to their chemical composition.

We have dedicated ourselves to soluble polymers separately. You can find out why this is the case here .