Session 1:

Introduction


Question:

What are plastics and what gives them their unique properties?


Text:

All plastics are composed of long chains of subunits ("monomers") that are covalently bonded together. These long chain molecules ("polymers") have unique physical properties which make them enormously useful in a wide range of applications. Some plastics are hard and transparent with properties similar to glass. Others are soft and rubbery. Still others are strong yet flexible. In this module, we will begin to understand why different polymers possess different physical properties and how chemists can control polymer composition, structure and properties through intelligent choice of reagents, catalysts, and conditions.


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