Category Archives: 3.12 Polymers

Biodegradability and disposal of polymers

Polyalkenes are chemically inert and therefore non-biodegradable. Polyesters and polyamides can be broken down by hydrolysis and are, therefore, biodegradable [mechanisms not required]. The advantages and disadvantages of different methods of disposal of polymers, including recycling. Students should be able to: • explain why polyalkenes are chemically inert • explain why polyesters and polyamides can be hydrolysed. Research opportunity Students could research problems associated with the

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Condensation polymers

Condensation polymers are formed by reactions between: • dicarboxylic acids and diols • dicarboxylic acids and diamines • amino acids. Know the linkage of the repeating units in polyesters (eg Terylene) and polyamides (eg nylon 6,6 and Kevlar)  Typical uses of these polymers Students should be able to: • draw the repeating unit from monomer structure(s) • draw the repeating unit

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Addition polymers

[This topic is common to both ‘Alkenes (AS)‘ and ‘Polymers (A2)‘ and links to GCSE topics of ‘Polymers from oil’ and ‘Polymer structure and intermolecular forces‘] Addition polymers are formed from alkenes and substituted alkenes. Poly(alkenes) like alkanes are unreactive (chemically inert and therefore non-biodegradable). Appreciate that knowledge and understanding of the production and properties of polymers has developed over time. Typical uses of poly(ethene) and

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