July 1, 2001 Feature Article

PolymerProcessing.com logo

Polymerization and Molecular Weight Distribution Demonstration

Chris E. Scott
Managing Engineer

Heidi Burch
Postdoctoral Associate
Department of Material Science and Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The key characteristic that distinguishes polymers from other materials is their chain-like molecular structure. This structure is also responsible for the unique properties and processing behavior of polymers. This series of demonstrations illustrates how chain-growth and step-growth polymerization reactions build polymer chains from monomers. In addition, since any polymer sample includes chains of different lengths, is shows how to quantify molecular weight distributions of polymer mixtures.

Two references were particularly useful in developing these demonstrations:
F.W. Billmeyer, Textbook of Polymer Science, 3rd Edition, Wiley-Interscience (1984).
P. Rempp and E.W. Merrill, Polymer Synthesis, 2nd Edition (1991).


Chain Growth Polymerization: A Living Polymerization

Chain Growth Polymerization with Chain Transfer to Monomer

Step Growth Polymerization: A Single Difunctional Monomer

Step Growth Polymerization: Two Difunctional Monomers with Different Functionalities

Step Growth Polymerization: Multifunctional Monomers

You need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view these documents. (It's free!)

Copyright 2000, 2001 PolymerProcessing.com