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Polymer Chemistry

This is a collection of polymer chemistry notes, lectures, lessons, and articles.

Monomers and Polymers
Monomers are the building blocks of more complex molecules, called polymers. Polymers consist of repeating molecular units which usually are joined by covalent bonds. Here is a closer look at the chemistry of monomers and polymers.

What Is Plastic?
Have you ever wondered about the chemical composition of plastic or what it is made of? Here's a look a what plastic is and how it is formed.

Plastics & Polymers Science Fair Project Ideas
Find ideas for a science fair project involving plastics or polymers.

Nylon Synthesis
The reaction used to make nylon sometimes is called the nylon rope trick because nylon is produces as a single long hollow tube or rope. Here is how to make nylon or perform the nylon rope trick.

How Teflon Sticks to Nonstick Pans
Teflon is the name given to the fluoropolymer coating on non-stick pans. It won't stick to your food, yet somehow stays on the pan. Here's a look at how they get it to stick there.

How Do Disposable Diapers Work? Why Do They Leak?
Learn about the polymer in disposable diapers, sodium polyacrylate. Find out how the polymer absorbs water and why diapers leak.

What Is Mylar?
You may be familiar with Mylar in shiny helium-filled balloons, solar filters, space blankets, protective plastic coatings or insulators. Here's a look at what Mylar is made of and how Mylar is made.

Why Do Clothes Wrinkle?
Learn why clothes wrinkle and how permanent press fabrics work. It's a matter of polymer chemistry and chemical bonding.

Bouncing Polymer Ball
Use chemistry to make a bouncing polymer ball, then alter the procedure to see the effect the changes have on the charactertistics of the bouncing ball.

Dissolve Styrofoam in Acetone
Dissolving Styrofoam or another polystyrene product in acetone is a spectacular demonstration of the solubility of this plastic in an organic solvent, plus it illustrates just how much air is in the Styrofoam.

Electroactive Slime Instructions
This recipe makes cool, non-toxic slime that appears to have a life of its own!

Fake Snow Instructions
You can make fake snow using a common polymer. The fake snow is non-toxic, feels cool to the touch, and looks similar to the real thing.

Gelatin Plastic
Colorful gelatin shapes can be used to make jewelry, mobiles, decorations, and more!

Goo Recipe
Make squishy non-toxic goo that hardens in your hands when you squeeze it, but flows like a liquid when you pour it.

Gunk Recipe
This is sort of like slime, but drier and very non-toxic if left uncolored.

Jumping Rubber or Polybutadiene
The jumping rubber polybutadiene reaction is a dramatic chemistry demonstration in which chemicals are reacted and sealed into a container, which pops open and releases a polymer snake. Here is how to perform the demonstration.

Materials Science Fair Projects
Materials science involves physical science and engineering. Science fair projects can invent new materials, improve existing materials, test the properties of materials, or compare the suitability of different materials for a specific purpose. Here's a look at some science fair project ideas in this field of research.

Metamucil Flubber
This recipe makes a non-sticky sort of 'rubber' or gelatinous slime.

Natural Plastic from Dairy
Plastics are generally produced from petroleum, but they can come from other sources as well! All that is really required is the ability to join molecules containing carbon and hydrogen together, which you do whenever you curdle milk.

Nylon Polymerization Reaction
This is the general reaction in which nylon forms from condensation polymerization of dicarboxylic acid and diamine.

Oobleck Recipe
Learn how to make Oobleck, a type of slime that has properties of both liquids and solids.

Plastic Sulfur
You can make a polymer from an element. Turn ordinary sulfur into rubbery plastic sulfur and then back into its brittle crystalline form.

Silly Putty
Learn about the history of Silly Putty, how it works, how to make your own, and what you can do to explore the interesting properties of this viscoelastic liquid.

Why Doesn't Glue Stick to the Inside of the Bottle?
Glue is sticky, so why doesn't it stick to the inside of its bottle? Here's the answer to how glue works.

Slime Step-By-Step Instructions
Slime is easy and fun to make, plus it only requires glue, borax, and water. Here are step-by-step instructions for making classic slime, complete with photos.

Slime Video
Slime is fun material that you can make yourself using common household ingredients. See how to make slime at home, and learn about the chemical process that occurs to form it.

Center for Polymer Studies
Boston University presents these research projects, patterns in nature Java simulations, The Dance of Chance science museum exhibit, Java virtual molecular dynamics laboratory, hands-on experiments, and fractal galleries.

Plastics News
Abstracts and Tables of Contents.

Nylon Life Cycle
The invention, commercialization, growth, and maturation of the nylon industry are discussed.

Polymer Morphology
Atomic scale to macroscopic scale look at polymeric structures. From Gregory Beaucage, University of Cincinnati.

History, chemistry, and teaching materials covering this topic. From the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Resources for Polymer Chemists
Tables include densities, refractive indices, and plasticizer compatabilities. From Scientific Polymer Products.

Collagen is a protein made up of amino acids that is found in the human body. Here's a look at what collagen is and how it is used in the body.

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