Polymer Chemistry

Polymers Are Molecules Too!

Do polymers have stereochemistry like small molecules?

Yes! The most common example is polypropylene. This polymer has a methyl group attached to the backbone of the polymer. If the methyl groups are all on the same side of the chain, the stereochemistry is known as isotactic (top structure below). If the arrangement of the methyl groups alternates which side of the chain it’s on, the polymer is called syndiotactic (bottom structure below). If there’s no order at all to the substituents, we call the polymer atactic.



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