Chemistry. Foundations and Applications. Po-Z by J. J. Lagowski

By J. J. Lagowski

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Polymer: molecule composed of many similar parts O R O C RЈ Ester linkage aliphatic: having carbon atoms in an open-chain structure ester: organic species containing a carbon atom attached to three moieties: an O via a double bond, an O attached to another carbon atom or chain, and an H atom or C chain; the R(C–O)OR functional group Figure 2. Wallace Carothers attempted to form polymers from the reaction of ethylene glycol (a diol) and apidic acid (an aliphatic diacid). In the late 1920s American chemist Wallace Carothers and his research group at DuPont began to investigate the formation of polymers from the reaction of aliphatic diacids (having two acid groups) with diols (having two alcohol groups), in search of materials that would give them fibers.

It was generally recognized by leading organic chemists of the nineteenth century that phenol would condense with formaldehyde, but because they did not understand the principles of the reaction, they produced useless crosslinked materials. Baekeland’s main project was to make hard objects from phenol and formaldehyde and then dissolve the product to reform it again in a desired shape. He circumvented the problem by placing the reactants directly in a mold of the desired shape and then allowing the reactants to form a hard, clear solid—Bakelite (Figure 15).

Figure 14. O ( O CH2 CH2 )x Soft ( C NH O R NH C )y Hard Segmented Polyurethane History of Synthetic Polymers While polymers form the basis of life, the history of synthetic polymers is relatively recent. Some of the key polymers that have been developed since the early days of polymer science include: Vulcanized rubber. In the mid-1800s, American scientist Charles Goodyear began working with rubber to try to make it more temperature stable. After many unsuccessful attempts, he accidentally allowed a mixture of sulfur and pre-rubber to touch a hot stove.

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