Chapter 3. Introduction to Plastics and Polymers
The most basic component of plastic and elastomer materials is polymers. The word polymer is derived from the Greek term for “many parts.” Polymers are large molecules comprised of many repeat units, called monomers that have been chemically bonded into long chains. Since World War II, the chemical industry has developed a large quantity of synthetic polymers to satisfy the materials needs for a diverse range of products, including paints, coatings, fibers, films, elastomers, and structural plastics. Literally thousands of materials can be called “plastics,” although the term today is typically reserved for polymeric materials, excluding fibers, which can be molded or formed into solid or semisolid ...

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