Chemistry of Addition Polymers


Addition polymers can be found everywhere, from plastic water bottles to high-tech fiber optic cables, making their presence known and offering intriguing chemistry lessons. Uncovering how addition polymers form can be truly captivating. Find out the best info about مستربچ.

An addition polymer is formed through the linking of monomers without producing byproducts such as water (unlike condensation polymerization, which generates co-products such as hydroxides). Understanding its formation involves three fundamental principles: Initiation, Propagation, and Termination.


Polymers are high molecular weight substances composed of multiple combinations of the most straightforward units known as monomers, often combined repeatedly. This process of formation from monomers is called polymerization. Addition polymers are one type of chain-growth polymer. They’re usually formed using alkene-derived monomers with carbon-carbon double bonds containing carbon double bonds, which then undergo additional polymerization, resulting in plastics such as polyethylene and polypropylene being made. This other polymerization technique also applies when used for plastic production, such as making plastics like polyethylene and polypropylene.

To create an addition polymer, the double bonds in monomer molecules must first be reconfigured into single bonds with the help of an initiator molecule, usually some peroxide. Peroxide generates free radicals with unpaired electrons, which form bonds with carbon atoms within the double bonds of monomers, forming the foundation for polymer chains that further grow with time as other monomers join through their double bonds to the first chain and continue the growth until the desired length has been reached.

Importantly, unlike proper condensation polymers, addition polymers are not biodegradable due to their strong carbon-carbon and carbon-hydrogen bonds that prevent microorganisms in landfill sites from breaking them down into their constituent molecules. Furthermore, recycling additional polymers is often tricky because they are hard to reform into new shapes.

Addition and condensation polymers can also differ in that the former do not produce water or any small molecules as byproducts during their formation while, on the other hand, condensation polymers do produce such byproducts during the polymerization of monomers containing carbon-carbon double bonds.

Flory acknowledged the arbitrariness of this distinction and proposed revising his original definition to include macromolecular products that reach their final chemical structure via step-growth mechanisms similar to typical polycondensations without yielding byproducts – in other words, all traditional condensation polymers (i.e., polyamides, polyesters, urethanes), as well as those produced through ring opening polyaddition processes, would fall under this definition of condensation polymers.


Addition occurs in polymer chains when carbon-carbon bonds in one monomer break and form single bonds with carbon atoms in another monomer, creating an additive chain connecting these monomers and ultimately making the polymer itself. Often, this is achieved with help from a catalyst that controls structural details that impact its behavior; by contrast, condensation polymers involve the elimination of water or small byproduct molecules, leading to different chemical outcomes altogether.

Reginald Gibson and Eric Fawcett of ICI first introduced the term “addition polymer” during their work on synthesizing acetone in 1933. To complete their synthesis process, they conducted an experiment that involved reacting ethene with benzaldehyde at high temperatures and pressures until overnight when they discovered a solid mixture containing both molecules – they later identified this resultant substance as “ethylene.”

Addition polymerization uses unsaturated monomers with carbon-carbon double bonds as its monomers, also known as chain-growth polymerization, due to the continuous formation of new bonds when monomers come together and join. This type of polymerization can create different addition polymers with distinct W, X, and Y groups for differentiation purposes.

Polyolefin production can be obtained via the polymerization of cyclic monomers, such as acrylonitrile and vinyl chloride, which then serves to produce polyolefins that are resistant to biodegradation – this includes materials such as PET (polyethylene terephthalate) and PVC (vinyl chloride), among many others. These addition polymers tend to be nonbiodegradable due to strong C-C bonds between molecules; in comparison, condensation polymers tend to be biodegradable and easily recyclable.

Addition polymers are created through reactions that produce heat, but these can be stopped or slowed with the use of small quantities of an endblocker (for instance, dimethylsiloxane with trimethylsiloxy groups on one end), known as an “endblocker. Once created, this dead polysiloxane can then be combined with living chains to form functionalized addition polymers.


Addition polymers are defined in polymer chemistry as those resulting from linking monomers directly together without co-generating other products, such as water. They differ from condensation polymers, which produce water during their formation process. Unfortunately, classifying addition and condensation polymers is a challenging endeavor that relies on physical properties rather than on how they were made.

Addition polymers can be created through various processes, with free radical mechanisms being the most popular way of production. They form by linking together monomer units in an orderly fashion to form long chains that can then be used in numerous applications, including plastics, coatings, and elastomers.

Polyethylene polymers feature strong carbon backbones that resist biodegradation while also being chemically inert thanks to strong C-C bonds in their chains. They were first discovered by Reginald Gibson and Eric Fawcett of ICI in 1933 when they attempted to form a ketone by reacting ethene with benzaldehyde; instead, they found that a waxy solid had formed overnight, later confirmed as polyethylene.

Polyethylene is one of the world’s premier addition polymers and finds widespread application across industries and applications. Other notable examples are polyvinyl chloride (PVC), acrylics, and styrene. Production involves splitting molecules apart via initiators that act on radicals, cations, or anions to initiate polymerization and then proceed through three stages: Initiation, Propagation, and Termination.

At the initial stage, reactive molecules attach themselves to carbon atoms of monomers by connecting to their carbon atoms directly, creating bonds with every monomer unit added – this establishes a polymer chain with strong head-to-tail selectivity, with each monomer adding to its end rather than starting from scratch, as seen below in diagram form.

During propagation, free radicals add across a chain to form more chains until it reaches its desired length, at which point it is terminated by reinitiating the reaction with another free radical and restarting it from there – as seen below where “X” represents generic side groups – the polymer formed is known as an addition polymer or chain-growth polymer.


Addition polymers are distinguished by having long chains of repeating units connected by double bonds that break during addition polymerization to form long molecules. They’re created using monomers called alkenes; when added together via this process, their double bonds break, and they join to form large molecules – an example being polyethylene, which has many applications as it’s soft yet malleable, molding into many shapes with excellent mechanical properties as well as providing electrical insulation properties. Other additional polymers include polyvinyl chloride, polystyrene, and ethylene tetrafluoroethylene, among many more.

In addition, polymers are often used as plastics. This is because many addition polymers, such as ethylene, are linear with limited cross-linking and thus flow easily when heated, yet remain very strong – polyethylene can support considerable weight while remaining rigid; furthermore, it serves as an electrical insulator.

Addition polymers have another distinct advantage over condensation polymers: no byproducts are created during their formation due to being created via addition rather than condensation polymerization, where water-containing byproducts such as carbon dioxide can be released as byproducts.

Addition polymers can also be combined with other monomers to form block copolymers, which consist of alternating blocks of one monomer and a polymer made up of the same type of units as another monomer. Block copolymers can be used to produce products such as plastic films and containers.

Free radical mechanisms are utilized for the addition polymerization of monomers. An initiator, which consists of a small molecule that reacts with one of the carbon atoms in a double bond of monomer molecules to release two unpaired electrons that can then be used to bond other monomer molecules together, is employed during this process, and it continues until multiple carbon atoms join into an everlasting chain–completing this cycle through initiation, propagation, and termination.

Read Also: Studio Khora’s Journey: Embracing Deconstructivism And Redefining Coastal Architecture