Chapter_14

Chapter_14 - Chapter14 Polymers Introduction Polymers are...

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Chapter 14 Polymers Introduction Polymers are composed of enormous molecules containing anywhere from thousands to heptillions (10 24 ) of atoms per molecule. Molecules which are this large are called "macromolecules." Some macromolecules have a variety of different types of atoms connected together willy-nilly without much apparent order (coal). Some macromolecules made of only one or
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two types of atoms which are bonded together in simple exact 3-D crystalline structures (diamond or quartz).
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Polymers are macromolecules which have situation in between simple crystals and haphazard structures. Although they may contain millions of atoms, these millions of atoms are typically organized as repeating patterns of smaller groups of atoms, known as "monomer units," which are all covalently bonded together one after another like railroad cars in a train. Monomer units themselves typically contain a group of from two to fifty atoms bonded to one another in well-defined covalent structures. If you look at the structural formula for a molecule and notice same pattern of atoms and bonds repeats itself over and over again, then you are looking at the structural formula for a polymer. Plastic, hair, wood, muscle, rubber, starch, DNA, nylon, cotton, and dacron are all
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polymers; some are man-made and some are "natural."
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Organic Chemistry In order to understand polymers (both natural and man-made) it is first necessary to understand a little more about organic chemistry. Most polymers are organic chemicals (especially natural ones). Organic chemicals are chemicals with molecules (or macromolecules) which are made of carbon atoms covalently bonded to other carbon atoms (catenation) and/or several other kinds of atoms. The atoms which are found in organic (macro)molecules live in the upper right portion of the Periodic Table (the "nonmetals"), plus hydrogen. Fossil fuels are all organic chemicals.
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Almost all organic chemicals made from fossil fuels (exceptions: small quantities complicated drugs sometimes obtained from plants or bacteria). In recent past virtually all manmade organic chemicals obtained from petroleum ("petrochemicals"). Today, however, technology exists for making complete set of organic chemicals from coal (via gateway chemical methanol). Fossil fuel first broken down with catalysts and heat ("cracked"), then converted to alkenes & alkynes (petroleum), or aromatics (coal or petroleum) with appropriate catalysts. These "feedstocks" then turned into blistering array of different organic chemicals by techniques known as "organic synthesis." In past light alkene & alkyne feedstocks only
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made from petroleum. Now make from coal via methanol or methane (coal gasification).
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The valences (number of attached bonds) of each of the common organic atoms are given in table below. Atom
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This note was uploaded on 12/28/2011 for the course CHEM 1002 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '08 term at LSU.

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Chapter_14 - Chapter14 Polymers Introduction Polymers are...

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