By David I. Bower
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Extra resources for An Introduction to Polymer Physics
Rubbers, or elastomers, are network polymers that are lightly crosslinked and they are reversibly stretchable to high extensions. When unstretched they have fairly tightly randomly coiled molecules that are stretched out when the polymer is stretched. This causes the chains to be less random, so that the material has a lower entropy, and the retractive force observed is due to this lowering of the entropy. The cross-links prevent the molecules from ﬂowing past each other when the material is stretched.
Composites are materials in which a second component with very different properties is added to the polymer so that both components contribute to the properties of the product. The second component often increases the strength or stiﬀness of the product and is said to reinforce it. Particulate materials such as carbon black are often used to reinforce elastomers, for instance in car tyres, but ﬁbres are usually used for reinforcing other types of polymer and are also used in tyres. g. again in tyres.
1 also illustrates that the volume production of some of the commoner polymers roughly equals or exceeds that of aluminium and copper, and that the total volume production of all the polymers listed is about 60% of the volume production of steel. The versatility of polymers, already commented on, must be taken to apply not only to these materials as a class, but also to many of its individual members. Poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET), for instance, is used not only as a textile ﬁbre but also as a packaging material in the form of both ﬁlm and bottles.
An Introduction to Polymer Physics by David I. Bower