Difference Between Addition And Condensation Polymerization

The process of joining small molecules to form a large molecule is known as polymerization. The building blocks of polymers are monomers. Based on the chemical reaction involved, polymerisation is divided into two groups known as addition polymerization and condensation polymerization. Addition polymerization is the process of repeated addition of monomers that posses double or triple bonds to form polymers. A condensation polymerization is a process that involves repeated condensation reactions between two different bi-functional or tri-functional monomers. Give below in a tabular column is the difference between addition and condensation polymerization.

Addition Polymerization Condensation Polymerization
Monomers must have either a double bond or triple bond Monomers must have two similar or different functional groups
Produces no by-products By-products such as ammonia, water and HCl are produced
Addition of monomers results in polymers Condensation of monomers result in polymers
The molecular weight of the resultant polymers is a multiple of monomer’s molecular weight The molecular weight of the resultant polymer is not a multiple of monomer’s molecular weight
Lewis acids or bases, radical initiators are catalysts in addition polymerization The catalysts in condensation polymerization are catalysts in condensation polymerization.
Common examples of addition polymerization are PVC, polyethene, Teflon etc. Common examples of condensation polymerization are nylon, bakelite, silicon, etc.

The main difference between addition and condensation polymerization is that in addition polymerization the polymers are formed by the addition of monomers with no by-products while in condensation polymerization polymers are formed due to the condensation of two different monomers resulting in the formation of small molecules such as HCl, water, ammonia, etc., as by-products. At BYJU’S, read more differences like the difference between Enantiomers and Diastereomers.

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