Understanding the types of polymerization

There is rapid scientific progress that is experienced by human beings. This renaissance is evident in various disciplines even in the plastics field. Polymers are wonderful substances which have changed the way people live. However, very few people understand how these materials are made. This post is meant to shed some light on this subject. You will get insights about different types of polymerization.

t2gwedf6vhedf82ue9k22A polymer is a molecule which is made up of several monomers. Monomers are also molecules but small in size, and usually organic. They can form the chemical bonds or other related molecules. When they are many monomers join forces, they form a polymer such as cycloolefin polymer. The majorities of synthetic polymers are of a plastic type and are related to oil. However, there are several forms of polymers which occur naturally. They are called biopolymers. A good example is the protein molecule.

Polymerization reactions

Monomers are a result of chemical interactions called polymerization reactions. The reactions can be broadly categorized as step-reaction polymerization and chain-reaction polymerization. Step reactions are known as condensation whereas chain-reactions are known as an addition.

Chain reactions are three-way operations which involve two structures; the monomers and free radical catalysts. The free radicals are just molecular fragments which are free, unstable electrons. As a result of instability, the free radicals interact with a broad range of substances. The steps monomers and free radicals follow to create polymers include initiation, propagation, and termination.


This is the first step which begins when the free radicals interact with the double bond monomer. After breaking down the double bond, the free electrons are transferred to the available monomer atom.


This reaction is repeated on the available monomer atoms. This is the time when the formation of polymers begins.


This is the end of the reaction or chain. It involves capping off the end of the chain by the leftover free radical. After the part is complete, the polymer chain is ready for action.

Types of plastic polymers

t2wgefv6ehdf82ue9ik2Two major types of plastic polymers are thermosets and thermoplastics. Thermoplastics contain carbon compounds. Moreover, they can be created by both addition and condensation reactions. The molecules, in this case, are usually linear. This makes it possible for them to move around and slide. This explains why they are easily molded and formed when they are subjected to the high temperatures.…