Perplexing polymers?

Polymers are simply long carbon chains formed from alkenes by breaking open the double bond.

There are two types of polymer those that melt and those that don’t, called thermosoftening and thermosetting respectively. We can explain why these polymers do and don’t melt by looking at their molecular structure

Thermosetting plastics

Thermosetting plastic, has cross links

The thermosetting plastics have cross links within the structure which make it very difficult to melt.

Thermosoftening plastics

Thermosoftening plastic, has no cross links between polymer strands

Thermosoftening plastics have no cross links between the polymer strands and so are able to slide past each other when heated, allowing them to melt.

Still puzzled by polymers?

Why not try the nobel prize website’s Polymer game!!!