carbon monomers and polymers

synthetic carbon polymers

Synthetic carbon polymers are produced in labs or factories. Plastics are common examples of synthetic carbon polymers. You are probably familiar with the plastic called polyethylene. All of the plastic items pictured in the Figure 1.3 are made of polyethylene. It consists of repeating monomers of ethylene (C2 H4 ). Structural formulas for ethylene and polyethylene are also shown in the Figure 1.4. Click image to the left or use the URL below. URL:



natural carbon polymers

Many polymers of carbon occur naturally. Two examples are rubber and cellulose. Rubber is a natural polymer of the monomer named isoprene (C5 H8 ). This polymer comes from rubber trees, which grow in tropical areas. Structural formulas for rubber and isoprene are shown in the Figure 1.2. Note that just a small section of the rubber polymer is represented by the structural formula. Cellulose is a natural polymer of the monomer named glucose (C6 H12 O6 ). This polymer makes up the cell walls of plants and is the most common compound in living things. Structural formulas for cellulose and glucose are also shown in the Figure 1.2). As you can see from the structural formula for cellulose, when two glucose monomers bond together, a molecule of water (H2 O) is released. Q: How are the glucose molecules arranged in the cellulose polymer? A: The glucose molecules alternate between right-side up and upside down.



out of many one

Carbon has a unique ability to form covalent bonds with many other atoms. It can bond with other carbon atoms as well as with atoms of other elements. Because of this ability, carbon often forms polymers. A polymer is a large molecule that is made out of many smaller molecules that are joined together by covalent bonds. The smaller, repeating molecules are called monomers. (The prefix mono- means one and the prefix poly- means many.) Polymers may consist of just one type of monomer or of more than one type. Polymers are similar to the strings of beads pictured in the Figure 1.1. Like beads on a string, monomers in a polymer may be all the same or different from one another.

instructional diagrams

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examples of naturally occurring carbon polymers include

a) cellulose.

b) rubber.

c) plastic.

-->  d) two of the above

rubber consists of the monomer named ethylene.

a. true

-->  b. false

any given polymer consists of just one type of monomer.

a. true

-->  b. false

diagram questions

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