• About the Polymers Zone

    A section of a polyethylene polymer, a molecule made from many units of ethylene joined together. | Image: Wikimedia

    A section of a polyethylene polymer, a molecule made from many units of ethylene joined together. | Image: Wikimedia

    A polymer is a giant molecule made by joining together loads of the same molecule into one long chain. These types of repeating molecules make up materials found all over nature. For example the walls of plant cells are made of the polymer, cellulose.

    Since the 20th century humans have been making artificial, synthetic polymers, such as plastics, and these are used in everything from ink to tablets, to hair conditioner to face creams.

    The clothes that you’re wearing right now could be made from a mix of man-made polymers, like polyester and natural polymers, such as cotton.

    Different polymers have different properties. Some are stretchy, like rubber, and some are brittle, like plastic.

    Scientists researching polymers can be investigating their unique properties, making new materials from polymers, finding new uses for old polymers, or even creating entirely new polymers!

    In this zone there are scientists researching how to use polymers to grow human cells to replace damaged tissue, and a scientist who uses chemistry to create entirely new polymers.

    There is also a scientist who wants to use polymers in new ways in making aircraft and someone who investigates what happens to polymers when they are exposed to cold temperatures.