Chemistry -Designer polymers

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Monomers can join together to form polymers. Additional polymers are formed from alkenes. For example:

Some polymers are not made from alkene monomers and these are called condensation polymers. Nylon and polyesters are examples of this. They can be drawn into very fine fibres and woven into cloth for clothing. Often, natural fibres such as cotton are mixed with nylon or polyester fibres to make a soft but hard-wearing cloth.

Nylon has some desirable properties. It does not let ultraviolet light pass through it, and it is:

  • tough
  • lightweight
  • waterproof.

Unfortunately, nylon does not let water vapour pass through it either. This means nylon waterproof clothing traps sweat, so that after a while the inside of the clothing becomes wet and unpleasant to wear.

Gore-Tex has the desirable properties of nylon, but is also 'breathable'. It lets water vapour from sweat pass to the outside, but it stops rain drops from passing to the inside. Clothing made of Gore-Tex is very useful to hikers and other people who




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