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Polymer Science and Technology, Third Edition by Joel R. Fried

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Chapter 1. Introduction to Polymer Science

The word polymer is derived from the classical Greek words poly meaning “many” and meres meaning “parts.” Simply stated, a polymer is a long-chain molecule that is composed of a large number of repeating units of identical structure. Certain polymers, such as proteins, cellulose, and silk, are found in nature, while many others, including polystyrene, polyethylene, and nylon, are produced only by synthetic routes. In some cases, naturally occurring polymers can also be produced synthetically. An important example is natural (Hevea) rubber, known as polyisoprene in its synthetic form.

Polymers that are capable of high extension under ambient conditions find important applications as elastomers. In addition ...

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