How to capture waste heat energy with improved polymers

By one official estimate, American manufacturing, transportation, residential and commercial consumers use only about 40 percent of the energy they draw on, wasting 60 percent. Very often, this wasted energy escapes as heat, ...

Study results pave the way to programmable electronic inks

Conjugated polymers are important materials because of their special electronic and optical properties and low cost, making them very promising for a wide range of applications. An international research team led by Professor ...

Nanogenerator's 2500% stretchability sets new record

By stretching like a rubber band to more than 25 times its original length, a new nanogenerator has set a new stretchability record. The triboelectric nanogenerator's 2500% stretchability represents a significant increase ...

The similarities between a Van Gogh painting and a golf ball

On a molecular scale, there are surprising similarities between the outer shell of a golf ball and the white oil paint used by Van Gogh and his contemporaries. In both cases, the interactions between zinc ions and polymer ...

Artificial muscles powered by glucose

Artificial muscles made from polymers can now be powered by energy from glucose and oxygen, just like biological muscles. This advance may be a step on the way to implantable artificial muscles or autonomous microrobots powered ...

Curbing the flammability of epoxy resin

In a paper to be published in a forthcoming issue of Nano, a team of researchers from Henan University have investigated the flame retardant performance of epoxy resin using a boron nitride nanosheet decorated with cobalt ...

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Polymer

A polymer (from Greek πολύ-ς /po΄li-s/ much, many and μέρος /΄meros/ part) is a large molecule (macromolecule) composed of repeating structural units typically connected by covalent chemical bonds. While polymer in popular usage suggests plastic, the term actually refers to a large class of natural and synthetic materials with a variety of properties.

Due to the extraordinary range of properties accessible in polymeric materials , they have come to play an essential and ubiquitous role in everyday life - from plastics and elastomers on the one hand to natural biopolymers such as DNA and proteins that are essential for life on the other. A simple example is polyethylene, whose repeating unit is based on ethylene (IUPAC name ethene) monomer. Most commonly, as in this example, the continuously linked backbone of a polymer consists mainly of carbon atoms. However, other structures do exist; for example, elements such as silicon form familiar materials such as silicones, examples being silly putty and waterproof plumbing sealant. The backbone of DNA is in fact based on a phosphodiester bond, and repeating units of polysaccharides (e.g. cellulose) are joined together by glycosidic bonds via oxygen atoms.

Natural polymeric materials such as shellac, amber, and natural rubber have been in use for centuries. Biopolymers such as proteins and nucleic acids play crucial roles in biological processes. A variety of other natural polymers exist, such as cellulose, which is the main constituent of wood and paper.

The list of synthetic polymers includes synthetic rubber, Bakelite, neoprene, nylon, PVC, polystyrene, polyacrylonitrile, PVB, silicone, and many more.

Polymers are studied in the fields of polymer chemistry, polymer physics, and polymer science.

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