This introductory article describes the various aspects of chemical structure and composition that are important to an understanding of polymer properties and their eventual effect on the end-use performance of engineering plastics, namely thermoplastics and thermosets. The most important properties of polymers and the most significant influences of structure on those properties are covered. The article also includes some general information on the classification and naming of polymers and plastics.
This article describes in more detail the fundamental building-block level, atomic, then expands to a discussion of molecular considerations, intermolecular structures, and finally supermolecular issues. An explanation of important thermal, mechanical, and physical properties of engineering plastics and commodity plastics follows, and the final section briefly outlines the most common plastics manufacturing processes.