Topics - Polymers
Polymers consist of many small molecular weight molecules, called monomers, linked together to form very large molecules called macromolecules. A polymer macromolecule may contain ten to one hundred thousand monomer molecules. There are two commonly known types of polymer; the first are the biopolymers
such as the carbohydrates and starches, the monomers of which are the pentoses and hexoses and the proteins, the monomers of which are amino acids linked by peptide bonds; the second commonly known types of polymer are the commercial polymers
such as polyethylene, the monomer being ethylene, polyvinylchloride the monomer being vinyl chloride and Perspex the monomer being methyl methacrylate. The first commercial polymers were produced in the early 1800s in the form of Vulcanite produced by the vulcanization of rubber and Celluloid produced from low nitrogen-content nitrocellulose. Chromatography equipment utilizes a number of different polymers, Teflon, polytetrafluoroethylene is an extremely inert material that is unaffected by solvents and even by most acids and is used for chromatography in the form of tubes and gaskets.. Neoprene is another polymer that is frequently used as O-ring seals and gaskets in chromatography pumps and valves as it also is resistant to most solvents. Inert polymers, although not very apparent, play a very important part in the manufacture of chromatographs.