Polymers

A polymer is a substance which is constructed from a large number of smaller monomer units. Addition polymerisation is used in the manufacture of many polymers, starting from different monomers.

polymerisation

Addition Polymerisation

The process in which unsaturated alkene molecules (monomers) add to a growing polymer chain one at a time to form a long saturated chain.

Polymer Waste

Polymers have different uses:

Addition polymers usually do not react with substances placed inside them and they are fairly durable and do not break down naturally. This causes problems in disposal.

Recycling

This is the reusing of plastics so that new raw materials do not need to be extracted to create more plastics. It involves two stages: sorting and reclamation.

Other methods of disposal

Biodegradable polymers

Biodegradable polymers are plastics that have been derived from renewable raw materials such as starch, maize and lactic acid. Bioplastics are manufactured by non-hazardous processes and are less harmful to the environment as they degrade naturally when disposed.

© Andrew Deniszczyc, 2018