Synthetic Polymers

What are Synthetic Polymers

Synthetic polymers are those which are human-made polymers. Polymers are those which consists of repeated structural units known as monomers. Polyethylene is considered to be as one of the simplest polymer, it has ethene or ethylene as the monomer unit whereas the linear polymer is known as the high density polyethylene-HDPE. Many of the polymeric materials have chain-like structures which resemble polyethylene.

Synthetic Polymers

Synthetic polymers are sometimes referred as “plastics”, of which the well-known ones are nylon and polyethylene. The polymers which are formed by linking monomer units, without the any change of material, are known to as addition polymers or also called as chain-growth polymers. All these are said to be synthetic polymers.

Some of the synthetic polymers which we use in our everyday life include nylons used in fabrics and textiles, Teflon used in non-stick pans, polyvinyl chloride used in pipes. The PET bottles we use are commonly made up of synthetic polymer called as polyethylene terephthalate. The covers and plastic kits comprises of synthetic polymers such as polythene, and the tyres of vehicles are manufactured from the Buna rubbers. But on the other side, there also arises environmental issues by the use of these synthetic polymers such as the bioplastics and those made from petroleum as they are said to be non-biodegradable.

Types Of Synthetic Polymers with Examples-

There are various synthetic polymers developed so far. Let us study in brief about few of the synthetic polymers used in everyday life-

  • Nylon-

    • Nylon belongs to the synthetic polymers family and is also known as polyamides. It was produced on February 28 in the year 1935 by person naming Wallace Carothers at the DuPont’s research facility. Nylon is widely used polymers. The backbone of it called as amide causes it to become hydrophilic than other polymers. Nylon gets engaged in hydrogen bonding with water, not like the pure hydrocarbon polymers which make most of the plastics.
  • Polyvinyl Chloride –

    • Polyvinyl Chloride or PVC is third-most majorly produced plastics coming after polypropylene and polyethylene. This PVC is used for construction purposes as it is known to be stronger and cheaper than other alternatives like copper or iron. PVC is also used in the clothing, electrical cable insulation including many other applications replacing rubber.
  • Low-Density Polyethylene–

    • The Low-Density Polyethylene polymers are the most common kind of synthetic polymers, which are widely used in households. LDPE is a kind of thermoplastic which is prepared from the monomer called ethylene.
  • Polypropylene–

    • Polypropylene also called as polypropene is a kind of thermoplastic synthetic polymer which is used in variety of applications such as packaging, labeling, stationery, textiles, plastics and in reusable containers, laboratory equipments and etc.

Some of the other examples includes Thermoplastic Polyurethane, Teflon, Polystyrene, High Density Polyethylene, Neoprene, etc.

Uses Of Synthetic Polymers

Some of the uses are given below-

  1. The polymer called Polyethylene is used in plastic bags and film wraps.
  2. Polyethylene is utilized in the bottles, electrical insulation, toys, etc
  3. Polyvinyl Chloride( PVC) is used in siding, pipes, flooring purposes.
  4. The synthetic polymer Polystyrene is used in cabinets and in packaging.
  5. Polyvinyl acetate is used in adhesives and latex paints.

Practise This Question

Which of the following can be polymerised to polythene?