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Difference Between Addition And Condensation Polymerization

The process of combining a large number of small molecules to form a single macromolecule is known as polymerization. The small molecules that act as the building blocks of polymers are called monomers. Based on the kinds of reactions 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 possess double or triple bonds to form polymers. 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 have 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 Different molecules are used as catalysts in the process of 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 monomer with no by-products whereas in condensation polymerization, the polymers are formed due to the condensation more than one different monomers resulting in the formation of small molecules such as HCl, water, ammonia, etc., as by-products. Learn about other similar topics like the difference between Enantiomers and Diastereomers by registering with BYJU’S.

Frequently Asked Questions

How polymers are formed?

Many molecules of a simple compound combine together to form a polymer.

How to prevent polymerization?

Polymerization can be prevented by adding polymerization inhibitors.

Define monomers.

The small molecules that act as the building blocks of polymers are called monomers.

Give two examples of Condensation Polymerization.

Nylon and Polyester are some of the most common examples of this polymerization.

Which catalysts are used in addition polymerization?

Lewis acids or bases, radical initiators are catalysts in addition polymerization.
Test your knowledge on difference between addition and condensation polymerization!

2 Comments

  1. Thank you for this information it is very helpful

  2. I really love the explanation it’s so understandable thank you.

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