Introduction to polymers
Introduction to polymers

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

Introduction to polymers

3.3.3 Higher aromatics

Benzene rings can be fused in various ways to create component parts for some of the complex aromatic repeat units shown in Table 5. One of the most important is bisphenol A, made by fusing two phenol rings with acetone:

This intermediate is important for a number of speciality polymers, for example, polycarbonate and epoxy resins. Epoxies were developed in the early 1940s, and they found eventual use in aircraft construction for high-strength adhesive bonding. They continue in popularity as speciality adhesives and are also important in polymer composite materials, where they are used as the matrix for glass and carbon fibres. Condensation of bisphenol A and epichlorhydrin yields prepolymers of the kind:

Since MR is very large (284), n = 1 to ca. 10 in the prepolymers of molecular masses up to 3000. Not only are there reactive epoxy groups at the chain ends but also hydroxyl groups in the repeat units which are available for crosslinking by multi-functional amines.

With bisphenol A available commercially as a relatively cheap intermediate, its potential for use in thermoplastic materials was exploited in the development of polycarbonate resins by simply reacting the material with phosgene gas, COC12:

More recent exploitation of this linked phenol has occurred in certain grades of polysulphones and polyimides.


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus