Liquid flow is influenced by a quantum effect in water

Researchers at EPFL have discovered that the viscosity of solutions of electrically charged polymers dissolved in water is influenced by a quantum effect. This tiny quantum effect influences the way water molecules interact ...

Nanocontainer ships titan-size gene therapies and drugs into cells

Scientists at Johns Hopkins Medicine report they have created a tiny, nanosize container that can slip inside cells and deliver protein-based medicines and gene therapies of any size—even hefty ones attached to the gene-editing ...

Researchers add order to polymer gels

Gel-like materials have a wide range of applications, especially in chemistry and medicine. However, their usefulness is sometimes limited by their inherent random and disordered nature. Researchers from the University of ...

Researchers discover unique multifibrillar fibres

Strong and tough yet as light as a feather—materials with this exceptional combination of properties are urgently needed in many industrial sectors and in medicine, as well as being of great interest for scientific research. ...

Conductive polymer nanoantennas for dynamic organic plasmonics

Researchers in the Organic Photonics and Nano-optics goup at the Laboratory of Organic Electronics have developed optical nanoantennas made from a conducting polymer. The antennas can be switched on and off, and will make ...

Sustainable separation technology makes new applications possible

Membranes are widely used to separate substances from each other, for example in water treatment or kidney dialysis. Membrane technology saves energy and water, and has a small CO2 footprint. Unfortunately, large quantities ...

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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