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Polymerization

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Definition

noun, plural: polymerizations

The act of process of forming a polymer, especially by chemical reactions that join monomers together in a chain or a three-dimensional network


Supplement

Polymerization is the act or process wherein monomeric molecules join together to form a polymer or a 3D network. In biochemistry, polymerization occurs through a chemical reaction that ends up in creating a polymer as monomers link through chemical bonds. The process may occur naturally or synthetically. Polymers produced by a living organism are referred to as biopolymers. They include proteins and polypeptides, polynucleotides, and polysaccharides. Polysaccharides are biopolymers that are linked by the coming together of monomeric sugar units joined together by glycosidic bonds. Polypeptides, in turn, are formed when amino acids join together by peptide bonds. Polynucleotides are formed by the joining together of nucleotides by ester linkages.

Addition polymerization is a type of polymerization in which monomers link together and form a chain, usually between carbon to carbon bond formation. Another type of polymerization is the step-growth. In step-growth polymerization, the polymer is produced through a stepwise reaction between functional groups of monomers, thus involving heteroatom bond formations (e.g. nitrogen to oxygen).

The opposite process of polymerization is depolymerization where polymers are converted into a mixture of monomers.


Variant(s):

  • polymerisation

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