Protein discovered inside a meteorite

A team of researchers from Plex Corporation, Bruker Scientific LLC and Harvard University has found evidence of a protein inside of a meteorite. They have written a paper describing their findings and have uploaded it to ...

Scientists close the cycle on recycling mixed plastics

Little of the mixed consumer plastics thrown away or placed in recycle bins actually ends up being recycled. Nearly 90% is buried in landfills or incinerated at commercial facilities that generate greenhouse gases and airborne ...

Polymer discovery gives 3D-printed sand super strength

Researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory designed a novel polymer to bind and strengthen silica sand for binder jet additive manufacturing, a 3D-printing method used by industries for prototyping ...

New process makes 'biodegradable' plastics truly compostable

Biodegradable plastics have been advertised as one solution to the plastic pollution problem bedeviling the world, but today's "compostable" plastic bags, utensils and cup lids don't break down during typical composting and ...

Sustainable 'plastics' are on the horizon

A new Tel Aviv University study describes a process to make bioplastic polymers that don't require land or fresh water—resources that are scarce in much of the world. The polymer is derived from microorganisms that feed ...

Plastics and the curse of durability

Plastic is an indispensable part of everyday life. Bottles, bags, packaging and technical molded parts made of plastic are lightweight and resistant to water and decay. While such qualities are highly valued during usage, ...

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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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