Uses of Polymers

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Polymers and their uses:

The forces between the polymers molecules determines the properties of plastics and therefore its use

Strong covalent bonds hold the atoms together in a chain

It is the forces between the chains that determines the properties of the plastic

Long chains that are held together with weak intermolecular are able to move around a lot. This plastic can be stretched easily and has a low melting point because it does not need a lot of energy to break the intermolecular bonds.

Some plastics have strong covalent bonds between chains. They can have cross-linking bridges so that it has a rigid structure. This means that it has a higher melting point as more energy is needed to break the strong covalent bonds. This plastic is very rigid and cannot be stretched unless changed into a molten state.

The properties of the plastic will have an impact on its use:

Strong, rigid plastics - High density polyethene used to make milk bottles

Light, stretchable


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