Definition - What does Copolymer mean?

Copolymer refers to a kind of polymer that contains two or more distinct repeating units called "monomers." It produces high molecular weight substances by chemical combination or the polymerization of monomers. It is used to produce a variety of products like plastics, tires and tubes. Copolymer is different from homopolymer; homopolymer contains only one kind of monomer, whereas copolymer contains at least two kinds of monomers.

The properties of plastics can be modified to meet specific needs through copolymerization. Copolymers are also used as corrosion inhibitors. They help to improve the mechanical properties of plastic materials.

Corrosionpedia explains Copolymer

Copolymer is a polymer that contains two different types of monomers in the polymer chain. It offers altering the properties of a homopolymer or adding the desirable properties of two different homopolymers by controlling and introducing monomers.

In copolymers, repeating units such as A and B can be joined in different structural designs. They can polymerize randomly (ABBAABA), alternately (ABAB) and even form blocks (AAABBB) or be grafted to each other. Therefore, the properties of a copolymer depend on the nature of the monomers and their structural distribution in the chain.

Copolymers are produced through nearly all types of polymerization. They can be manufactured through the polymerization of vinyl monomers, ring-opening polymerization or condensation polymerization. They can also be manufactured through the chemical reaction of functional groups on the monomer unit in polymer chains.

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