What does polymerize mean?

1 Answer
Dec 13, 2015

Polymerize means to combine many molecules into a larger molecule that contains repeating structural units.


"Polymer" means "many parts".

Each part in a polymer is a monomer ("one part").

The classic polymer is polyethylene.

It is formed when ethylene molecules join to form a much larger molecule with hundreds of repeat units.

#(n+2)underbrace("H"_2"C=CH"_2)_color(red)("ethylene") → underbrace("-CH"_2"CH"_2"-"("CH"_2"CH"_2)_n"-CH"_2"CH"_2"-")_color(red)("polyethylene")#

Propylene is another common monomer.

#(n+2)underbrace("H"_2"C=CHCH"_3)_color(red)("propylene") → underbrace("-CH"_2"CH"("CH"_3)"-"["CH"_2"CH"("CH"_3)]_n"-CH"_2"CH"("CH"_3)"-")_color(red)("polypropylene")#