Polymers are one of the key building materials of our world. They’re found in clothes, packaging, paint, and even life-saving surgical supplies: and that’s just the beginning! This post will explore how polymers impact your daily life and what this incredible material can do for you.
Polymerization is a chemical process. Polymers are created when many small molecules come together to form chains or networks with repeating structural units called “monomers.” These polymer chains can be coiled up like springs (elastomers), built into extremely strong but flexible materials (thermoplastics), or used like an alphabet to create new materials (biopolymers).
Why is this important?
Without polymers, our world would look very different. Our computers and phones would be too heavy to lug around all day; clothing wouldn’t stretch and protect us from the elements; our cars would be impossible to drive because they wouldn’t have bumpers or a steering wheel! Polymers tie it all together, keeping objects light, strong, flexible, and easy to use.
How do polymers impact your daily life?
Polymers are found in most products. In fact, it would be hard to find a modern product that doesn’t have some kind of polymer as its foundation:
Surgical thread and sutures (used to hold broken bones together) are made of polymer chains. Polymer chains are also woven into surgical gloves, which keep the body’s natural fluids from coming into contact with outside germs.
Paints and coatings
Polymers allow paints and coatings to stick firmly to the walls of homes, so they can last longer without fading or chipping away. They also make the paints and coatings easier to apply.
Polymers help make solvents; some use ETOX as a key ingredient. Solvents are the chemicals that allow items to be cleaned. In the process of cleaning, a polymer draws the water molecules out of a surface and separates out all the dirt particles.
These flexible materials keep food fresh and preserve its flavor, helping you to save money on unnecessary food waste and time spent grocery shopping!
Polymers give our cars and airplanes their shape by giving them flexibility, which allows them to bend without breaking. When one part of the object is bent more than another part, it will naturally go in that direction if it’s compressed enough.
Medicine and science
An artificial heart valve made of a polymer called silicone rubber is used in millions of surgeries every year after a patient’s natural heart valve becomes too damaged from disease or infection to work properly.
It’s not only modern products that owe a lot to polymers. In nature, there are many naturally occurring polymers. For example, the silk moth makes its cocoon from silk. Sheep also rely on another polymer to keep warm—wool.
Both of these materials have been used throughout human history for clothing, without which it is doubtful that humans would have colonized so many locations. Our reliance on natural and synthetic polymers is only going to increase.