Polymers comprises one of the biggest markets in production. Various kinds of polymers are used both in high technology and daily customer products. In this content, we will give you brief and introductory information about polymers, classification of polymers below.
What Is ‘Polymer’?
Polymers include very long chain of molecules and atoms in regular basis. In general, these long chains of atoms achieved with carbon atoms. Because of that, the term polymer, takes its name from its molecular structure. Greek word ‘poly’ means ‘many’, ‘meros’ means ‘part’ which ‘polymeros’ means that many molecules and atoms constitutes a part. There are bunch of polymers avaliable in nature, but production of polymers in serial basis is very late compared with metals and ceramics. Use of natural polymers is not common as synthetic polymers. Production of synthetic polymers dated back around mids of 1800’s. If we think the historical production and use of metals and ceramics, production of synthetic polymers is very late.
Classification Of Polymers
Classification of polymers has three elements: Thermoplastic(TP) polymers, thermosetting(TS) polymers and elastomers(E). Categorization of polymers is made according to their physical natures generally.
- Thermoplastic Polymers(TP): Thermoplastic polymers is a polymer class, that they are solid in room temperature. When they heated up to several hundred degrees, they become liquid after some liquification phases. When thermoplastics are cooled to room temperature, they become same solid structure again. This cycle is valid limitlessly for thermoplastics without significant degredation. This property of thermoplastics makes them very economical, that they can be processed again and again. Thermo sets has the biggest market around other polymer types, which is around 70% of polymer market. Polyethylene, polystyrene, polyvinylchloride, polypropylene and nylon are the most known thermplastic materials.
- Thermosetting Polymers(TS): The cycle that is explained above for thermoplastics, is not applicable to thermosettings. Cooling after heating of a thermosetting material, changes the original molecular structure of thermosetting polymer. Other chains occur after solidification which turns the thermosetting materials into ‘char’. Because of that, thermosetting materials are used only for one, such as molding. Most known thermosetting materials are phenolics and epoxies.
- Elastomers(E): Elastomers show very specific physical property that they are very elastic materials. They can elongate up to 10x of their original shape by the effect of low mechanical loadings. After withdrawal of this load, elastomers can return their original shape. Because of this property of elastomers, they can find very specific applications in engineering and daily life. Most known natural rubber is vulcanized rubber. But synthetic rubber’s market is bigger than natural one.
Classification and explanation of polymers can be summarized like above. Do not forget to leave your comments and questions about classification and explanation of polymers below. Your feedback is very important for us.