Copolymer vs. Heteropolymer

By Jaxson

  • Copolymer

    A copolymer is a polymer derived from more than one species of monomer. The polymerization of monomers into copolymers is called copolymerization. Copolymers obtained by copolymerization of two monomer species are sometimes called bipolymers. Those obtained from three and four monomers are called terpolymers and quaterpolymers, respectively.

    There are many commercially relevant copolymers. Some examples include acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), styrene/butadiene co-polymer (SBR), nitrile rubber, styrene-acrylonitrile, styrene-isoprene-styrene (SIS) and ethylene-vinyl acetate, all formed by chain-growth polymerization. Another production mechanism is step-growth polymerization, used to produce the nylon-12/6/66 copolymer of nylon 12, nylon 6 and nylon 66, as well as the copolyester family.

    Since a copolymer consists of at least two types of constituent units (also structural units), copolymers can be classified based on how these units are arranged along the chain. Linear copolymers consist of a single main chain, and include alternating copolymers, statistical copolymers and block copolymers. Branched copolymers consist of a single main chain with one or more polymeric side chains, and can be grafted, star shaped or have other architectures.

  • Copolymer (noun)

    A polymer derived from more than one species of monomer.

  • Heteropolymer (noun)

    A polymer derived from two or more different (but often similar) types of monomer


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