POLYMER CHEMISTRY A Presentation for the Introductory Seminar in Chemistry The University of Akron October 15, 2008 Traian-OvidiuGheorghiu
What is a polymer ? • The word polymer isderived from the Greek words poly-, meaning “many” and meros-, which means “part”. • A polymer is a large molecule also called macromolecule, composed of repeating structural units typically connected by covalent chemical bonds.
Polymer Synthesis • Is the process of combining many small molecules known as monomers into a covalently bonded chain. Example: Polypropylene (PP)
Polymers can be: • Lightweight • Hard • Strong • Flexible or Brittle • Transparent or Opaque • Thermal and Electrical Insulators • Semiconductors
Examples of polymers • Polypeptide
(continued) • Plastics
(continued) • Proteins
Motivation • Chemists develop polymers so they can be used to make ingredients for products with unique physical and chemical properties
What chemists do ? • They manipulate large, complex molecules and capitalize on the connections between their molecular structure and the properties that make them useful
What is Polymer Chemistry ? • Is a multidisciplinary science that deals with the chemical synthesis and chemical properties of polymers or macromolecules.
Career Paths • Emphasis on the organic synthesis of materials • Most polymer chemists were trained in organic chemistry
Job Functions • Blending and Compounding • Liquid-Crystal Polymers • Polymers for Aerospace/NASA • Detergent Polymers • Fibers and Rubber • Coatings and Adhesives • Polymers for Biomedical Applications • Polymer Education
Places of Employment 1) Industry 2) Government 3) Academia
Personal Characteristics • Ability to communicate with others in a number of fields • Strong interest in materials and the end use of polymers • Strong interest in the synthesis of polymers
Job Outlook • Hiring can be expected to follow the economy • Highly competitive field but the job market will improve • Creative and well-trained individuals should be able to find positions in the field.
Education and training requirements • Most people employed in polymer chemistry have a PhD and were trained as organic chemists: • Solid education in the fundamentals of chemistry • Interdisciplinary degree through programs in polymer (or macromolecular) science
Recommended websites • www.acs.org • www.polyacs.org • www.careerbuilder.com • www.chemistryjobcenter.com • www.uakron.edu/ccm