Advances in Organic Synthesis

Volume: 16

From Atoms to Macromolecules: 100 Years of Polymer Research

Author(s): Andrés E. Ciolino*, Augusto G.O. de Freitas, Angel J. Satti and Mario D. Ninago

Pp: 212-270 (59)

DOI: 10.2174/9789815039269122160007

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


In March 1920, Professor Hermann Staudinger coined the term
“macromolecules” to explain the physicochemical behavior of different synthetic and
natural polymers. Far from the skepticism of the scientific community, other
researchers, such as Wallace Carothers, were able to explain not only the synthesis but
also the chemical nature of synthetic polymers by considering Staudinger´s ideas. The
Nobel Prize awarded to Staudinger in 1953 is one of the milestones of a new era in
which polymers and polymer science would certainly change the world. In this review,
the historical evolution of polymer chemistry and that of different synthetic methods to
produce polymers with well-defined molecular architectures are discussed. Different
synthetic methods are reviewed, from classical (ionic, condensation, and coordination)
to recent ones (reversible activation/deactivation using nitroxides, transfer agents or
metal complexes, conducting polymers, and meta thesis polymerization). This review is
expected to be of interest not only to those involved in polymer science but also to
others interested in the development of synthetic chemistry.

Keywords: Free radicals, Historical background, Initiators, Ionic, Macromolecules, Metallocenes, Metathesis, Polycondensations, Polymers, Polyolefins, Reversible deactivation/activation polymerizations.

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