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- Created 2012-03-14
ˈpɒlɨmər is a
composed of many repeated subunits, known as
s. Because of their broad range of properties, both synthetic and natural polymers play an essential and ubiquitous role in everyday life. Polymers range from familiar synthetic
s such as
) to natural
that are fundamental to biological structure and function. Polymers, both natural and synthetic, are created via
of many monomers. Their consequently large
produces unique physical properties, including
, and a tendency to form
structures rather than crystals.
The term "polymer" derives from the ancient Greek word πολύς (polus, meaning "many, much") and μέρος (meros, meaning "parts"), and refers to a
whose structure is composed of multiple repeating units, from which originates a characteristic of high
relative molecular mass
and attendant properties. The units composing polymers derive, actually or conceptually, from molecules of low relative molecular mass. The term was coined in 1833 by
Jöns Jacob Berzelius
, though with a definition distinct from the modern
Polymers are studied in the fields of
). Historically, products arising from the linkage of repeating units by
s have been the primary focus of polymer science; emerging important areas of the science now focus on non-covalent links.
are examples of polymeric natural/biological and synthetic polymers, respectively. In biological contexts, essentially all biological
(polynucleotides), and polysaccharides—are purely polymeric, or are composed in large part of polymeric components—e.g., isoprenylated/lipid-modified glycoproteins, where small lipidic molecule and oligosaccharide modifications occur on the polyamide backbone of the protein.
from Wikipedia (last updated: 03 December), licensed under
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