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 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 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.

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  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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