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This article discusses the most fundamental building-block level, atomic level, molecular considerations, intermolecular structures, and supermolecular issues. It contains a table that shows the structures and lists the properties of selected commodity and engineering plastics. The article describes the effects of structure on thermal and mechanical properties. It reviews the chemical, optical, and electrical properties of engineering plastics and commodity plastics. An explanation of important physical properties, many of which are unique to polymers, is also included. The factors that must be considered when processing engineering thermoplastics are discussed. These include melt viscosity and melt strength; crystallization; orientation, die...

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