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What do garbage bags and DNA have in common? They are both polymers!

Polymers are long chains of smaller units (usually organic compounds) that are linked together by covalent bonds. The smallest units are called monomers, and intermediately sized chains of monomers are called oligomers.

Monomer < Oligomer < Polymer


Polymerization reactions are those where monomers come together to form polymers. The monomers are joined by addition or by condensation reactions.

Addition Polymerization Reactions

Addition polymerization reactions occur when monomers are added together and the intact monomer becomes part of the polymer. Addition polymerizations are usually free radical polymerization reactions.

Addition polymerization occurs with no loss of monomer mass.