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

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Chapter 2. Polymer Synthesis

As discussed in Chapter 1, a useful classification of all polymers is based upon the kinetics of the polymerization. According to this classification scheme, a step-growth polymerization is defined as one that involves a random reaction between two molecules that may be any combination of monomer, oligomer, or longer-chain molecule. High-molecular-weight polymer is formed only near the end of the polymerization when most of the monomer has been depleted. In chain-growth polymerization, the only chain-extension reaction is that of attachment of a monomer to an “active” chain. The active end may be a free radical or an ionic site (i.e., anion or cation). In contrast to step-growth polymerization, high-molecular-weight ...

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