Do you know what are polymers? Considered the most abundant materials in the plastic industry, these compounds are units formed from smaller structures called monomers.
Monomers are low molecular mass molecules that, after going through the polymerization process, generate a polymeric macromolecule. They also bind to each other by means of covalents, the mere, which are units that are repeated in a polymer.
This polymer formation process is called polymerization, and its degree refers to the number of mere scans available in a polymer chain. It is through this procedure that several types of compounds are created.
Although there are numerous applications in the compound market, polymers are not a human invention. Even natural options, such as leather, wool and wood, are present in several segments. Keep following Polyexcel’s blog to learn more about what are polymers.
Types of polymers
There are several types of polymers. Among the main ones are: natural, synthetic, addition, condensation and rearrangement. For more detailed information about each, check out the descriptions below!
Natural polymers are all those found in nature. Among the main examples are rubber, polysaccharides, starch, glycogen and proteins.
Synthetic or artificial polymers are manufactured in the laboratory and generally have petroleum-derived ingredients. The best known examples of this option are: polystyrene, methyl polymethacrylate (acrylic), polypropylene, polyethylene and polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
From this classification of polymers it becomes possible to manufacture various products, such as hydraulic pipes, plastic bags, construction materials, tires, plastic packaging, among others.
This compound is obtained by successively adding monomers. As examples of these polymers we have polysaccharides, which are formed by monomers of monosaccharides, and proteins, which are produced by amino acid monomers.
The condensing polymers are obtained by adding two different monomers with the elimination of a molecule of acid, alcohol or water during the polymerization process.
The rearrangement polymers are the result of the reaction between the monomers that undergo rearrangement and their chemical structures throughout polymerization. An example of this is polyurethane.
Finally, biodegradable polymers degrade into biomass, water and carbon dioxide as a result of the action of enzymes or living organisms. Under favorable conditions, they can be degraded in a few weeks.
Like the previous options, these compounds can be synthetic or natural. The biodegradable polymers properties come from the following sources:
- Renewables of plant origin, such as cellulose, corn and sugarcane;
- Synthesized by bacteria;
- Fossil sources, such as oil,
- Derived from an animal source, such as proteins, chitin and chitosan.
The application of these compounds is made in the production of bags, food packaging, consumer products and options for agriculture. Because of the biodegradation process, these polymers help prevent the accumulation of garbage and, consequently, pollution.
One thing that natural and synthetic polymers have in common is that both can be classified as thermoplastics, that is, as a matter that can be modified. Easily malleable, they are used in the production of fibers, films and packaging. In addition, they can be recyclable.
But it doesn’t stop there, since they can also be thermorigid or thermoset, which is when the three-dimensional structure is rigid with cross-links. For this reason, its format cannot be changed. This feature makes these compounds ideal for the formation of rigid and durable structures, such as car parts.
Get to know Polyexcel polymers!
Once you find out what are polymers, how about knowing more detailed information about the characteristics of each of them? On the Polyexcel website, it is possible to request the complete technical data sheet of all products. To do this, simply fill out the form on the “contact” page.
If you want to read more content about polymers and the news of the sector, continue following the Polyexcel blog. Here, we always bring detailed information about compounds, management, logistics and more. Follow us!