AQA Chem4: Polymers

Revision notes on polymers from the organic section of AQA Chem4

  • Created by: anna
  • Created on: 06-06-13 11:47

Addition Polymers


  • chemically inert
  • not attacked by acids, bases or oxidising agents
  • non-biodegradable



  • Incineration - leads to production of toxic and greenhouse gases, e.g. polurathanes burn giving  NO2 and HCN
  • Recycling - expensive but the best alternative
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Condensation Polymers

  • they are formed from two monomers each with functional groups at both ends of the molecule, when they react a small molecule (usually water) is eliminated
  • there are two types of condensation polymer - polyester and polyamide
  • condensation polymers are biodegradable as you can hydrolyse them



  • formed by the reaction of a dicarboxylic acid and a diol in which an ester link is formed
  • generally - HOOC-(CH2)x-COOH + HO-(CH2)y --> -[CO(CH2)x-COO(CH2)y-O]- + 2H2O
  • an example is terylene which is formed from benzene-1,4-dioc acid and ethan-1,2-diol


  • formed between the reaction of a dicarboxylic acid and a diamine and a peptide link is formed
  • generally - HOOC-(CH2)x + H2N-(CH2)y-NH2 --> -[CO(CH2)x-CO-NH-(CH2)y-NH]- + H2O
  • an example is nylon which is made from hexandioc acid and 1,6-diaminohexane
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