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Preparation of Polymers and Polymer Modification Report

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Updated: Sep 12th, 2022

Introduction and Objectives

The first experiment was carried out to prepare nylon by combining two monomers. The second experiment was intended to modify a property of polyvinyl alcohol from being a glue-like substance to being a non-tacky and rubber-like substance. The main objective of the experiment was to produce rubber from Elmer’s glue.

Background and Purpose

Generally, polymers like nylon are compounds with high molecular weight due to the combination of several molecules with lower molecular weights. Polymers such as nylon naturally weigh higher than 108 grams per mole. These polymers are formed by the combination of over 104 units of monomers in one polymer molecule. Due to the large size of their molecules, polymers are referred to as macromolecules.

The process of modifying existing polymers is achieved when they acquire new properties that were not intended during their original formation. For instance, modification of polyvinyl alcohol is done by treating it with borax solution. This way, Elmer’s Glue can also be modified into a rubber-like material with no sticky properties of glue.

Hypothesis and Expectations

The hypothesis of the first experiment process was that nylon can be formed by combining two or more monomers. The hypothesis of the second experiment process was that Elmer’s Glue changes into a rubber-like material from a glue-like substance.

After the first experiment process, it was expected that two layers would be formed due to the generation of a new polymer. After the second process of combining Borax solution with Elmer’s glue, a rubber-like material was expected to be produced.

Methods

Experiment process A

The experiment involved combining 10 ml of a 5% aqueous hexamethylenediamine solution with 10 drops of a 20% sodium hydroxide solution in a beaker. Then the next step was to gently add 10 ml 5% solution of sebacoyl chloride and cyclohexane into the resulting solution. At this point, two layers were expected to be observed due to the formation of a polymer film.

After the film had formed, a copper wire hook was used to separate polymer strings and the walls of the beaker. The wire was pulled out to get polyamide that formed continuously into a long strand. The strand was then broken and pulled faster to form a rope. The rope was rinsed with water and later dried on a paper towel.

Experiment process B

This process involved combining 25 ml of 5% Borax solution with a portion of Elmer’s glue into a 100 ml laboratory beaker. The resulting mixture was then stirred with a glass rod. Observations were made to note any resulting physical changes to the mixture. A rubber material was expected to be produced.

Results

In the experiment process A, the mixture in the beaker began to bubble and to separate. The mixture of white coagulated solution then started to stick together consistently and eventually formed a strand-like material of fiber.

In experiment process B, the mixture started to bind together into a consistent blob of a white rubber material.

Discussion

The two experiments were carried out independently to analyze two different aspects of polymers. Experiment process A had a true hypothesis of producing nylon by combining hexamethylenediamine solution with sodium hydroxide solution. This hypothesis was achieved by the experiment and proved that polymers such as nylon can be made from monomers. The second experiment had a true hypothesis that Elmer’s Glue can be modified into a rubber-like substance from a glue-like material.

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IvyPanda. "Preparation of Polymers and Polymer Modification." September 12, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/preparation-of-polymers-and-polymer-modification/.

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IvyPanda. 2022. "Preparation of Polymers and Polymer Modification." September 12, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/preparation-of-polymers-and-polymer-modification/.

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IvyPanda. (2022) 'Preparation of Polymers and Polymer Modification'. 12 September.

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