Polymers are materials created when monomers – singular molecules – are chemically bonded into interconnected chains. These chains of molecules typically take on new characteristics. They may become extremely flexible, strong, or heat resistant. Humans have been using polymers for over 100 years, but many of the most popular varieties are environmentally damaging. Scientists are now working on a new generation of eco-friendly polymers.
What Makes A Polymer Environmentally Friendly?
Environmentally friendly polymers can be recycled, broken down into naturally occurring chemicals, or have a hand in the removal of greenhouse gasses from the environment. They produce less carbon during production than other polymers and use less water or oil. There are several important classes of eco-friendly polymers. A great deal of research is going into the creation of new green polymers to replace the incredibly damaging polymers that surround us at the current time.
Traditional synthetic polymers are created by combining monomers found in petroleum and crude oil into long strings of connected molecules. Any polymer created using fossil fuels is contributing to climate disasters.
Aquazol is a water-soluble polymer that can be used to create adhesives. It is extremely stable, and its viscosity can be very easily controlled using easily attainable temperature controls. Check out polychemistry.com for more information about this exciting new polymer. Water-soluble polymers are set to be at the forefront of a new wave of eco-friendly synthetic materials. Most synthetic polymers are not water soluble, meaning they remain in water sources long after being discarded or recycled, so these new water soluble polymers are going to make a difference by safely breaking down in the water without becoming toxic.
Ingeo is a trademarked name used for a form of polylactic acid biopolymers. These biopolymers are created in an ingenious way. The carbon stored by plants during photosynthesis is fermented and processed – finally being bound into a series of polymer chains. This means that carbon is being removed – instead of added – during the creation of this material. Ingeo is marketed as an alternative to polyethylene to create food packaging and shopping bags. Polyethylene takes a great deal of time to biodegrade and only breaks apart due to long-term exposure to ultraviolet light. Ingeo does not have this issue.
Cellulose is not a new synthetic polymer. In fact, it is not a synthetic polymer at all. It is one of the most abundant naturally occurring polymers present in the world around us. Cellulose is the main substance present in the walls of plant cells, giving them their structure and protection against invasive substances. It is made of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen molecules – all formed into long polymer chains.
Cellulose is naturally occurring and can be broken down naturally. This makes it inherently sustainable. Cellulose has many applications in the medical and electricity generation fields. It is one of the most promising polymers used to create hydrogels. Many useful hydrogels have traditionally been made using petroleum-based polymers in the medical field. Many environmentally conscious pharmaceutical professionals are recommending the use of cellulose.