Principles of Polymer Systems 5th Edition
A man was asked the question â€œDo you have trouble making decisions?â€ He thought a while and then finally answered, â€œWell, yes and no.â€ The engineer or scientist who is asked to make generalizations about polymers often finds himself in the same position. In the interests of organizing the body of information about polymers which has accumulated since Baekeland, Staudinger, Mark, Carothers, and other pioneers started their work, there is a tendency to overgeneralize. The road of polymer discovery is strewn with the bones of absolute statements. In the older literature one finds such pronouncements as â€œAll polymer crystals are submicroscopic,â€ â€œFive-membered rings are too stable to be opened to form linear polymers,â€ â€œMaleic anhydride cannot be homopolymerized,â€ and â€œSteroregular polymers can be made only with an optically active catalyst.â€ All of these have been disproved or qualified. In this book, any generalizations that are encountered are subject to the following caveat: â€œAll generalizations are partially untrue, except this one.â€
It has been the authorâ€™s aim in this book to relate the behavior of polymer systems whenever possible to examples that are part of everyday experience. With polymers the job should be simple, since many of the things we useâ€”our clothing, our food, and our bodiesâ€”are made up of polymer systems.
It scarcely needs saying that this introductory text cannot treat any one subject exhaustively and must, perforce, omit some. However, the student who wants to learn more about polymers easily can, like Leacockâ€™s distraught young lord, jump on his horse and ride wildly off in all directions. Not only are there many journals devoted to polymers, the journals themselves divide and grow in yeasty fashion. Journals devoted to reviews of selected topics in polymers have made their appearance along with a flood of monographs. The list in Appendix 3 includes many of the English-language sources. The futility of trying to present a complete picture of polymer systems in one text is best illustrated by reference to the massive â€œEncyclopedia of Polymer Science and Technologyâ€ (Interscience) which began to be published in l964.
Despite the great leaps forward made in the last several decades toward understanding polymers, frontiers remain. The mechanisms of flame retarding by halogens and phosphates, drag reduction by dilute polymer solutions, filler reinforcement of rubber and plastics, and the freeze-thaw stabilization of human blood are incompletely understood. Sgnificantly, in each case, the polymer does not have an isolated existence, but is part of a system. Perhaps the most challenging frontier of all involves the human system. The use of polymers to stabilize whole blood during extended storage at liquid nitrogen temperatures is but one example of the way in which polymer systems can be applied in the interests of humanity.
I gratefully acknowledge the permissions granted by journals and industrial firms to reproduce material originally appearing in their publications. Extensive comments on the original manuscript by Professor M.C.Williams of the University of California at Berkeley were very helpful. The assistance and encouragement from students, fellow teachers, and coworkers in industry have been important in making this book possible. I want to thank Professor Charles C.Winding especially for his constructive and friendly guidance. And, of course, I thank my wife and family for the understanding and patience they have shown at all times, but most conspicuously during the writing of this book.
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