By Gary Patterson Carnegie Mellon University
Polymer technology is now an energetic and thriving group of scientists, engineers and technologists, yet there has been a time, no longer goodbye in the past, whilst there has been no such group. The prehistory of polymer technological know-how is helping to supply key insights into present matters and ancient difficulties. the tale should be divided into an historical interval ( from Greek occasions to the production of the molecular consensus), a nascent interval (from Dalton to Kekule to van’t Hoff) and a interval of paradigm formation and controversy (from Staudinger to Mark to Carothers). The prehistory concludes with an account of the epochal 1935 dialogue of the Faraday Society on “Polymerization”. After this assembly an energetic group engaged in attempting to resolve the vital difficulties outlined through the discussions.
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Additional info for A Prehistory of Polymer Science
H. ’’ The level of detail both for the reaction mechanism and the thermodynamics was very high. Bawn seemed to know every current paper in the field. Michael Polanyi had been driven out of Europe and was at Manchester in 1935. This collaboration was very fruitful. Bawn’s paper provided the terms of discussion and a progressive research programme in polymer kinetics for the rest of the twentieth century (Fig. 11)! Although many polymerizations take place in the bulk liquid or in solution, it is possible to polymerize monomers in a Langmuir–Blodgett film.
4 Musings on the Prehistory of Polymer Science 45 Berthelot recognized this fact as evidence of polymerization, but what did that mean? He also noted the evolution of heat during the thickening process. He correctly concluded that polymerization was a chemical reaction. The density of the system increases as the reaction proceeds. Viscosity increases with density in most liquids. But the increase was far too large to be due to densification alone. Einstein proved that solution viscosity increases as the particle size increases and as the volume fraction of particles increases.
He emphasized that colloidal systems were characterized by unique and unexplained principles, and would provide a lifetime of complex and interesting problems. Like a river, no colloidal system would ever be the same twice! ’’ He reviewed methods such as viscosity, the ultramicroscope, the equilibrium concentration distribution in a gravitational field, the settling rate of particles in a gravitational field, diffusion, Brownian motion and Rayleigh scattering. These fields were based on the foundational theoretical and experimental work of Einstein, Smoluchowski, Perrin, Hatschek, Mie and Rayleigh.
A Prehistory of Polymer Science by Gary Patterson Carnegie Mellon University