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Polymerization of classification, Methods of polymerization

Er. Parbhakar Dwivedi


The simplest substances consisting of one primary chemical are known as the monomers or monoliths. They are to be combined or synthetised to form polymers by the process known as the polymerization. A polymer thus consists of thousands of monomers joined together. The polymer molecule is also called a macromolecule. A polymeric material consists of a large number of these long-chain molecules.

(1) Classification of polymerization: Following Polymer structures can be classified according to the shape of macromolecules as under:

(i) Branched chain structures: As branches of monomers are added on to the linear chain of macromolecule. The ratio of length of main chain to that of side chains is not constant. The number of branches may also vary.

(ii) Cross-linked structures: As shown in chains adjacent to each other are linked together. Hence it restricts the movement between chains and therefore, some mechanical properties of material are altered.

(iii) Linear structures: As shown in long-chain molecules are being separated from each other. Polymers having this type of structure get strength from the interlining of the molecules.

(iv) Networking structures: As shown in this type of structure is being formed by trifunctional and tetrafunctional monomers. In networking structure, it is difficult to distinguish individual molecular chains.

(2) Methods of polymerization: Following are the three methods of polymerization which, as above, is the process of growing large molecules from small ones:

(i) Addition polymerization

(ii) Condensation polymerization

(iii) Co-polymerization.

(i) Addition polymerization: In this method, similar or different molecules join together due to opening of double bonds and the molecular weight of the resulting polymer is equal to the sum of the molecular weights of the reacting molecules. There is no loss of any substance in this process.

The process involves three distinct stages:

(a) Beginning of the process

(b) Expansion of chain

(c)End of process.

The polymers obtained by this method are polyethylene, poly-propylene, polyvinylchloride, polystyrene, polyacrylates, etc.

(ii) Condensation polymerization: In this method, the low-molecular substances are removed from the high-molecular substances formed from a large number of identical or different molecules. The reaction proceeds with an evolution of ammonia, hydrogen chloride and similar other phenolformaldehyde, carbamide, melamine-formaldehyde, etc.

As compared to addition polymerization, the condensation polymerization yields industrially impotent by-products such as H2o, HCI, etc. it is not a kinetic chain reaction by an intermolecular reaction. The addition polymerization takes a few seconds while the condensation polymerization takes even days to complete.

(iii) Co-polymerization: The co-polymerization is the addition polymerization of two or more different monomers. There are many monomers which will not polymerize with themselves but will co-polymerize with other compounds.

A co-polymer may have properties quite different from those of either component member. Thus a wide variety of plastics may be obtained by this process. The examples of this type of polymerization are vinyl chloride acetate and butadiene-styrene co-polymers.


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